District of Columbia Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current District of Columbia laws, incentives, regulations, funding opportunities, and other initiatives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, advanced technologies, or air quality. You can go directly to summaries of:

State Incentives

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Conversion and Infrastructure Tax Credit

Businesses and individuals are eligible for an income tax credit of 50% of the equipment and labor costs for the conversion of qualified AFVs, up to $19,000 per vehicle. A tax credit is also available for 50% of the equipment and labor costs for the purchase and installation of alternative fuel infrastructure on qualified AFV fueling property. The maximum credit is $1,000 per residential electric vehicle charging station, and $10,000 per publicly accessible AFV fueling station. Qualified alternative fuels include, ethanol blends of at least 85%, natural gas, propane, biodiesel, electricity, and hydrogen. This incentive expires December 31, 2026. For more information, see the Office of Tax and Revenue website. (Reference District of Columbia Code 47-1806.12 through 47-1806.13, 47-1807.10 through 47-1807.11, and 47-1808.10 through 47-1808.11)

Reduced Registration Fee for Alternative Fuel and Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

A new motor vehicle with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated average city fuel economy of at least 40 miles per gallon is eligible for a reduced vehicle registration fee of $36. This reduced rate applies to the first two years of registration and only the original purchaser, as denoted by the Manufacturer Certificate of Origin, is eligible. For more information, see the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles website. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-1501.03)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Title Excise Tax Exemption

Qualified PEVs are exempt from the excise tax imposed on an original certificate of title. The original purchaser and subsequent purchasers of the same vehicle are eligible for the excise tax exemption. The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines which PEVs qualify. For more information, see the District of Columbia DMV website. (Reference Bill 22-0904, 2018, and District of Columbia Code 50-2201.03(j))

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Exemption from Driving Restrictions

Certified clean fuel vehicles are exempt from time-of-day and day-of-week restrictions and commercial vehicle bans if the vehicles are part of a fleet that operates at least 10 vehicles in the District of Columbia. This exemption does not permit unrestricted access to High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, except for covered fleet vehicles that have been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEV) and continue to be in compliance with applicable ILEV emission standards. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-702 and 50-714)

Laws and Regulations

Fuel Efficient Vehicle Title Excise Tax

By January 1, 2020, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in consultation with the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), must revise the vehicle title excise tax to vary based on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle seeking title. The DMV and DOEE will develop a benchmark fuel efficiency standard. Vehicles seeking title with a fuel efficiency above the benchmark standard will pay a decreased excise tax amount or receive an excise tax rebate. Vehicles seeking title with a fuel efficiency below the benchmark standard will pay an increased excise tax amount. (Reference Bill 22-0904, 2018, and District of Columbia Code 50-2201.03(j)(1A))

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support

The Executive Office of the Mayor will establish a transportation electrification program that requires all public buses, light-duty vehicles associated with privately-owned fleets that can transport 50 or more passengers, commercial motor carriers, limousine service vehicles, and taxis certified to operate in the District of Columbia to be ZEVs by 2045.

In addition, the District Department of Transportation, in partnership with stakeholders, will develop a plan to encourage and promote the adoption of ZEVs. The plan will include recommendations for strategies to achieve at least 25% ZEV registrations by 2030 and the mayor’s transportation electrification program.

(Reference Bill 22-0904, 2018)

Utility Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Program Authorization

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (Commission) may consider applications by electric utilities to promote transportation electrification through EVSE ownership or other related programs and incentives. The Commission may approve applications that it finds are in the public interest and consistent with the District’s commitment to greenhouse gas emissions reductions. (Reference Bill 22-0904, 2018)

Emissions Reduction Plan for Transportation Network Companies

By February 1, 2022, and every two years thereafter, each private vehicle-for-hire company must develop a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, including actionable proposals to reduce emissions, and submit it to the District of Columbia Public Service Commission. Plans must include strategies to increase the proportion of vehicle-for-hire drivers with zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and to increase the proportion of vehicle miles completed by ZEVs relative to total vehicle miles traveled. (Reference Bill 22-0904, 2018)

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Pilot Program

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) administers the EVSE Pilot Program to install at least 15 EVSE, including one EVSE in every ward, by January 1, 2019. Each EVSE must be able to charge more than one plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) at a time and be able to collect and transmit data to DDOT. DDOT will publish a map of EVSE locations on its website. Beginning January 1, 2020, DDOT must submit to the Council of the District of Columbia a report that analyzes charging data and provides recommendations on access, siting, and other policies to encourage the use of PEVs. (Reference District of Columbia Law 22-78, 2018)

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Study

By July 1, 2019, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and other District of Columbia (DC) agencies must make publicly available a study that evaluates and makes recommendations regarding the effects of AVs on DC's economy, revenue, infrastructure, environment and public health, public safety, disability community, and transportation. The study must also evaluate the need for and use of AV data. (Reference District of Columbia Act 22-442, 2018 and District of Columbia Code 50-2353.01)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Support

The Green Finance Authority (Authority) increases private investment in clean transportation projects, including alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. The Authority Board will manage and authorize the Authority to issue bonds, establish the Authority Fund, and require the Authority to publish an annual report. (Reference District of Columbia Law 22-155, 2018)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Acquisition Requirements

Fleets that operate at least 10 vehicles in the District of Columbia must ensure that 70% of newly purchased vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds (lbs.) or less and 50% of vehicles with a GVWR between 8,500 lbs. and 26,000 lbs. are clean fuel vehicles. For the purpose of this requirement, a clean fuel is any fuel, including diesel, ethanol (including E85), hydrogen, propane, natural gas, reformulated gasoline, or other power source (including electricity) used in a clean fuel vehicle that complies with standards and requirements applicable to such vehicles. Certain exemptions apply. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-702 through 50-703)

Idle Reduction Requirement

A diesel- or gasoline-powered motor vehicle may not idle for more than three consecutive minutes, except under the following conditions: 1) to operate power takeoff equipment including, but not limited to, cement mixers, refrigeration systems, and delivery vehicles; 2) if it is a private passenger vehicle; or 3) to operate heating equipment for five minutes when the ambient temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. (Reference District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 20, Chapter 9, Section 900.1)

Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

The Mayor of the District of Columbia adopted the California motor vehicle emissions standards and compliance requirements specified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. The Mayor:

  • May adopt, by rule, motor vehicle programs for emissions inspection, recall, and warranty requirements;
  • May work in cooperation, and enter into agreements with, other states to administer requirements of the program;
  • Must work in conjunction with other states to promote and facilitate the regional adoption of similar LEV programs; and
  • Must educate District residents on the requirements of any adopted LEV program.

(Reference Mayor's Order 2018-044, 2018 and District of Columbia Code 50-731)

Passenger Vehicle Procurement Requirements

All passenger vehicles the District of Columbia government purchases or leases must have a minimum U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon and may not be a sport utility vehicle. Exemptions apply to security, emergency rescue, snow removal, and armored vehicles. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-203)