Natural Gas Laws and Incentives in Tennessee

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

Laws and Regulations

Alternative Fuel Tax

Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied gas used for operating motor vehicles on public highways is subject to excise tax imposed on a per gallon basis as follows:

July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019July 1, 2019 & Beyond
CNG$0.16$0.18$0.21
Liquefied Gas$0.17$0.19$0.22

For the purposes of this tax, the Tennessee Department of Revenue (Department) uses a CNG gallon equivalent factor of 5.66 pounds (lbs.) and a liquefied gas gallon equivalent factor of 6.06 lbs. Liquefied gas is all combustible gas that exists in the gaseous state at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and at a pressure of 14.7 lbs. per square inch, but does not include gasoline, diesel fuel, or CNG. Government agencies are exempt from this tax. (Reference Tennessee Code 67-3-1101 to 67-3-1103 and 67-3-1113)

Alternative Fuel and Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Acquisition and Use Requirements

The Tennessee Department of General Services must ensure that at least 25% of newly purchased passenger motor vehicles procured for use in areas designated as ozone nonattainment areas are all-electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), natural gas vehicles (NGVs), or propane powered vehicles, provided that such vehicles are available at the time of procurement. If these vehicles are not available, conventional gasoline vehicles achieving an average fuel economy of at least 25 miles per gallon (mpg) may satisfy the requirement. In areas not designated as ozone nonattainment areas, at least 25% of newly purchased passenger motor vehicles must be EVs, HEVs, NGVs, propane powered vehicles, or conventional gasoline vehicles achieving an average fuel economy of at least 25 mpg. For non-passenger vehicles, state fleets must make a reasonable effort to purchase at least 5% of these vehicles as natural gas or propane vehicles.

State fleets must make every effort to ensure that 100% of newly purchased motor vehicles are energy-efficient vehicles. Energy-efficient vehicles are defined as passenger vehicles that are alternative fuel vehicles using alternative fuels, as defined by the Energy Policy Act of 1992; HEVs; conventional gasoline vehicles achieving an average fuel economy of at least 25 mpg; or vehicles powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel achieving an average fuel economy of at least 30 mpg. Additionally, state agencies should strive to use ethanol and biodiesel in appropriate state-owned vehicles whenever possible and should support the development of biofuels fueling infrastructure.

The Tennessee Department of General Services must inventory the state's passenger vehicle fleet and prepare annual progress reports that outline cost savings, pollution avoidance, and petroleum displacement of the fleet.

(Reference Tennessee Code 4-3-1109, and Executive Order 33, 2006)

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Permit

CNG dealers must apply for and obtain a permit from the Tennessee Department of Revenue (Department). The permit authorizes the dealer to collect and remit taxes on CNG delivered to motor vehicles by means of a dispenser with meter capability. The permit will remain valid as long as the dealer provides timely reports and remits taxes when due, or until surrendered or cancelled. All CNG meters and dispensers are subject to inspection and verification by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Weights and Measures enforcement provisions.

A CNG vehicle user must apply for and obtain a CNG user's permit from the Department unless the user purchases CNG from a dealer through a metered dispenser.

For more information, see the CNG Tax Return for Dealers fact sheet. (Reference Tennessee Code 67-3-1119 and 67-3-1120)

Natural Gas Measurement

Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) used for transportation must be sold in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) or diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) prescribed by the state, unless equivalent measures are established by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. According to current state law, one GGE is equal to 5.66 pounds (lbs.) of CNG. One DGE is equal to 6.38 lbs. of CNG or 6.06 lbs. of LNG. (Reference Tennessee Code 47-26-914)

Utility District Natural Gas Fueling Station Regulation

Utility districts may own and operate natural gas fueling stations provided that the operation of the station is not franchised to another entity. This regulation does not prohibit private companies from owning or operating natural gas fueling stations within a utility district service area. (Reference Tennessee Code 7-82-302)

State Incentives

Natural Gas Station Property Tax Reduction

Any public utility, commercial, or industrial property certified to fuel natural gas vehicles may not be valued for property tax purposes at more than 30% of its total installed cost. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation must certify that the station uses compressed or liquefied natural gas for the purpose of fueling motor vehicles and is projected to displace more than 6,000 gallons of petroleum annually. (Reference Tennessee Code 67-5-601 and 67-4-2004).

Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Office of Energy Programs administers the Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program (Program). The Program provides fleets with grants to cover up to 70% of the incremental purchase cost, up to $25,000 per vehicle, for new original equipment manufacturer dedicated natural gas or propane vehicles, or for the cost of natural gas or propane vehicle conversions. Natural gas or propane bi-fuel vehicles used for emergency response purposes are also eligible for funding. Public, non-profit, and private Tennessee-based fleets are eligible to apply for funding and must intend to operate vehicles in Tennessee for a minimum of six years. Grant applications are limited to one per applicant, must include at least one vehicle, and are not to exceed $250,000. For more information, including eligibility requirements, see the Program website.

School Bus Replacement Grants

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's (TDEC) School Bus Replacement Grant program provides funding for the replacement of model year 2009 or older Class 4-8 school buses with new diesel, alternative fuel, or all-electric school buses. Alternative fuels include, but are not limited to, compressed natural gas, propane, and hybrid electric technologies. Private, public, and non-profit organizations, including state, local, and tribal governments, are eligible for funding. This grant program is funded by Tennessee's portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including how to apply, see the TDEC School Bus Replacement Grant website.

More Laws and Incentives

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