Natural Gas Laws and Incentives in Rhode Island

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

Laws and Regulations

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Acquisition Requirements

To reduce fuel consumption and pollution emissions, and purchase vehicles that provide the best value on a life cycle cost basis, the state must take the following actions:

  • At least 75% of state motor vehicle acquisitions must be AFVs, and the remaining 25% must be HEVs to the greatest extent possible. By 2025, 25% of state motor vehicle acquisitions must be ZEVs;
  • All new light-duty trucks in the state fleet must achieve a minimum city fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon (mpg) and achieve at least a Low Emission Vehicle certification, and all new passenger vehicles in the state fleet must achieve a minimum city fuel economy of 23 mpg;
  • All state agencies must purchase the most economical, fuel-efficient, and lowest emission vehicles appropriate to meet requirements and discourage the purchase of sport utility vehicles;
  • All state agencies must purchase low rolling resistance tires with superior tread life for state vehicles when possible; and
  • All state vehicles must be maintained according to manufacturer specifications, including specified tire pressures and ratings.
The state must also prepare an annual report to the governor on compliance with these goals. (Reference Executive Order 15-17, 2015, and Executive Order 05-13, 2005)

Clean School Bus Requirements

Full-size school buses equipped with an engine from Model Year (MY) 1993 or older may not be used to transport school children in Rhode Island. Additionally, provided that there is sufficient federal or state funding, all full-size school buses transporting children in the state must be retrofitted with a closed crankcase ventilation system and either: 1) be equipped with a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 emissions control retrofit device that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has verified; 2) be equipped with a MY 2007 or newer engine; or 3) achieve the same or greater reductions in diesel particulate matter as compared to an alternative fuel, such as compressed natural gas, and be verified by CARB or EPA to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions at a level equivalent to or greater than a MY 2007 or newer engine. (Reference Rhode Island General Laws 31-47.3-3)

State Agency Coordination to Address Climate Change

The Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) was established to coordinate efforts between state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Council will pursue GHG emissions reductions of 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. With assistance from the Council, state agencies will develop programs to encourage state employees to reduce vehicle miles traveled and use public transportation when available. The Council will also work with municipalities to encourage sustainability; identify federal, state, and private funding opportunities that can be leveraged to reduce emissions in Rhode Island; and develop GHG emissions reduction strategies. The Council submitted a plan in December 2016 with suggested strategies for GHG emissions reduction activities to the governor. (Reference Rhode Island General Laws 42-6.2)

State Incentives

Clean Diesel Grant

The Rhode Island Clean Diesel Fund provides companies with reimbursement grants to reduce emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Qualified vehicle improvements include vehicle replacements, engine repowers, conversions to alternative vehicle fuels, idle reduction technologies, and other fuel-efficient technologies. To be eligible, vehicles must be registered with the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles, and 50% of the vehicle miles travelled or hours of operation must be in Rhode Island for at least five years following receiving the grant. For more information, including eligibility and application requirements, see the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Clean Diesel Fund website. (Reference Rhode Island General Laws 31-47.3-5.1).

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Weight Exemption

A vehicle primarily powered by natural gas may exceed the state's gross vehicle weight limits by a weight equal to the difference between the weight of the vehicle with the natural gas tank and fueling system and the weight of a comparable vehicle with a diesel tank and fueling system. The NGV maximum gross weight may not exceed 82,000 pounds. (Reference House Bill 7776, 2018, and Rhode Island General Laws 31-25-2)

More Laws and Incentives

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