Natural Gas Laws and Incentives in Massachusetts

The list below contains summaries of all Massachusetts laws and incentives related to natural gas.

Laws and Regulations

Alternative Fuel Offering Requirement

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation may not enter into, renew, or renegotiate a contract with a fuel provider for services on the Massachusetts Turnpike without requiring the provider to offer alternative fuel. Alternative fuel is defined as an energy source that is used to power a vehicle and is not gasoline or diesel. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6C, Section 75 and Chapter 90, Section 1)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Access to Massachusetts Turnpike and Tunnels

An AFV powered by propane or natural gas may only use the Massachusetts Turnpike at or between Interchange 1 in West Stockbridge and Interchange 14 in Weston if the vehicle has a special fuel transportation permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The AFV must conform to applicable federal and state laws and regulations. An AFV powered by compressed natural gas or propane may only use Massachusetts tunnels if the vehicle conforms to applicable federal regulations and industry standards, displays required markings to identify its alternative fuel system, and is not used to transport fuel. (Reference 700 Code of Massachusetts Regulations 7.07)

Deregulation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a Motor Fuel

The sale of CNG by a fueling station for use as fuel to operate a motor vehicle is deregulated; however, separate records, books, and accounts of such sales must be maintained. Investments in related infrastructure must not reduce the availability or increase the cost of natural gas to customers who purchase natural gas for use other than as fuel to operate a motor vehicle. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164, Section 941/2)

State Hybrid Electric (HEV) Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition Requirements

When purchasing new motor vehicles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must purchase HEVs or AFVs to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the ability of such vehicles to perform their intended functions. HEVs and AFVs must be acquired at a rate of at least 5% annually for all new motor vehicle purchases so that not less than 50% of the motor vehicles the Commonwealth owns and operates will be HEVs or AFVs by 2018.

State fleets must also acquire AFVs according to the requirements of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 and the Massachusetts Office of Vehicle Management (OVM) must approve any light-duty vehicle acquisition. All agencies must purchase the most economical, fuel-efficient, and low emission vehicles appropriate to their mission. OVM, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, will set new minimum standards for vehicle fuel economy and work with agencies to acquire vehicles that provide the best value for the Commonwealth on a total cost of ownership basis.

By July 1 of each year, OVM must compile a report detailing the progress made towards these requirements.

(Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 7, Section 9A)

State Incentives

Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Grants

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources' Clean Vehicle Project offers grants for public and private fleets to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Eligible vehicles include those fueled by natural gas, propane, and electricity, including hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid vehicles. Eligible infrastructure includes natural gas fueling stations and electric vehicle supply equipment . For information about how to apply for funding, visit the State and Federal Electric Vehicle Funding Programs website.

Vehicle Emissions Reduction Grants

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Volkswagen Open Solicitation Grant Program (Program) provides up to 80% of the cost of new diesel or alternative fuel replacements and repowers for eligible government entities. For eligible non-government entities, the Program provides up to 40% of the cost of a new diesel or alternative fuel repower, up to 25% of the cost of a new diesel or alternative fuel vehicle, and up to 75% of the cost of an all-electric repower or replacement, with associated charging infrastructure. Qualifying alternative fuels include, but are not limited to, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, electricity, and diesel electric hybrid. Vehicles that qualify for replacement or repower include:

Model YearVehicle Type
1992-2009Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks
1992-2009Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks
2009 or olderClass 4-8 School Buses, Shuttle Buses, and Transit Buses

Eligible government and non-government entities may also receive funding for up to 80% and 75%, respectively, of the cost for the all-electric repower or replacement of airport ground support equipment, forklifts, and port cargo handling equipment.

The program is funded by Massachusetts’ portion of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including future opportunities and application guidelines, see the MassDEP Apply for a VW Open Solicitation Grant website.

More Laws and Incentives

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