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:
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. 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)
District of Columbia's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NEVI Formula Program requires the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to submit an annual EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan (Plan) to the DOT and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) beginning August 1, 2022, describing how the state intends to distribute NEVI funds. The submitted plan must be established according to NEVI guidance.
For more information about District of Columbia’s NEVI planning process, see the DDOT District Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan website. To review District of Columbia’s NEVI plan, see the Joint Office State Plans for EV Charging website.
Reduced Registration Fee for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Fuel-Efficient Vehicles
New EVs are eligible for a reduced vehicle registration fee of $36 for their first two years of registration. Registration fees per weight class will then apply, and beginning October 1, 2023, an EV may subtract 1,000 pounds from its manufacturer’s shipping weight to determine its registration weight class. For more information, see the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles website.
(Reference District of Columbia Code 50-1501.03)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Title Excise Tax Exemption
Qualified EVs 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 EVs qualify. For more information, including eligible EVs, see the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles website. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-2201.03(j)(3)(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 are in compliance with applicable ILEV emission standards. (Reference District of Columbia Law L22-257, 2019, and District of Columbia Code 50-702 and 50-714)
Public Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Make-Ready Support – Pepco
Pepco offers support to commercial customers installing publicly-accessible Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations. Pepco provides applicants with the electrical capacity to support up to five Level 2 or four DCFC stations per applicant location. Applicants are responsible for installing, operating, and maintaining the EV charging station. For more information, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines, see the Pepco EVsmart website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Support
District of Columbia utilities joined the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC), committing to create a network of direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations connecting major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific of the United States. NEHC utility members agree to ensure efficient and effective fast charging deployment plans that enable long distance EV travel, avoiding duplication among coalition utilities, and complement existing corridor DCFC sites. For more information, including a list of participating utilities and states, see the NEHC website.
Laws and Regulations
Medium- and Heavy-Duty (MHD) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington (signatory states) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) ZEVs through involvement in a Multi-State ZEV Task Force (Task Force).
In July 2022, the Task Force published a multi-state action plan to support electrification of MHD vehicles. The action plan includes strategies and recommendations to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including limiting all new MHD vehicle sales in the signatory states to ZEVs by 2050, accelerating the deployment of MHD ZEVs, and ensuring MHD ZEV deployment also benefits disadvantaged communities.
For more information, see the Medium- and Heavy-Duty ZEVs: Action Plan Development Process website.
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.
In August 2022, the District Department of Energy and Environment published a Transportation Electrification Roadmap. For more information, see the Electric Vehicles Resources website.
(Reference District of Columbia Code 50-741 and 50-921.24)
Utility Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Program Authorization
The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (Commission) may consider applications by electric utilities to promote transportation electrification through EV charging station 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 District of Columbia Code 50-741)
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 District of Columbia Code 50-741)
Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Study
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and other District of Columbia (D.C.) agencies must publish a study with recommendations regarding the effects of AVs on D.C.’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. DDOT published the study in April 2020. (Reference District of Columbia Code 50-2353.01)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Support
The Green Finance Authority (Authority) supports private investment in clean transportation projects, including alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. The Authority Board, established by the Authority Fund, manages the Authority, and authorizes the Authority to issue bonds. The Authority must publish an annual report. (Reference District of Columbia Code 8-173.01 through 8-173.64)
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 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 and 50-703)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Deployment Requirement
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) must install at least 15 public EV charging stations throughout the District of Columbia and collect EV charging station use data. DDOT must submit an annual report analyzing the program and provide an EV charging station map on the DDOT website. (Reference Resolution R24-0211, Effective from July 13, 2021, District of Columbia Law 22-78)
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 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)
Public Utility Definition
A person or entity that owns or operates electric vehicle supply equipment, an electric vehicle charging station service company, or an electric vehicle charging station service provider is not defined as a public utility. (Reference District of Columbia Code 34-214)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Building Standards
Beginning January 1, 2022, new construction and renovation of commercial buildings and multi-unit dwellings with four or more off-street parking spaces, must reserve a minimum of 20% of parking spaces for EV charging station-ready infrastructure. The Executive Office of the Mayor must establish regulations detailing the technical specifications required to support the EV charging station-ready infrastructure. (Reference District of Columbia Code 6-1451.03a)
Resident Electric Vehicle (EV) Curbside Charging Authorization and Guidance
District of Columbia residents that own or lease EVs may utilize curbside charging if they do not have designated off-street parking. Residents are not required to obtain a public space permit for curbside charging but they must follow the District of Columbia Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) EV Charging Cord Guidance for Crossing the Public Right-Of-Way. Equipment may be confiscated if residents do not comply. For more information, see the DDOT EV Charging Station Program website.
Public Electric Vehicle (EV) Curbside Charing Station Permits
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) offers public space permits to EV charging vendors for the installation of EV charging at curbside parking spaces. To be eligible, vendors must identify locations for EV charging stations, schedule a preliminary design review meeting (PDRM) with DDOT, and provide proof of utility engagement. For more information, including how to schedule a PDRM and additional eligibility requirements, see the DDOT EV Charging Station Program website.
Mid-Atlantic Region Electric Vehicle (EV) Support
The District of Columbia joined Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia (Participating States) in creating the Mid-Atlantic Electrification Partnership (MAEP) to support the deployment of EVs and EV charging stations throughout the region. Participating States commit to creating a regional network of EVs and EV charging stations that will make it possible to seamlessly operate light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs across transportation corridors and in low-income communities. For more information, see the MAEP website.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Acquisition Requirement
Beginning January 1, 2026, the District of Columbia government may only purchase or lease ZEVs when procuring fleet vehicles. Internal combustion engine vehicles that do not have readily available ZEV-equivalent models are exempt from this requirement.
(Reference Council Bill 240267, 2022)