Hawaii Laws and Incentives
Listed below are the summaries of all current Hawaii 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:
Diesel Emission Reduction Funding
The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) and Hawaii Department of Heath offers rebates of up to 45% of the replacement of qualified medium- and heavy-duty diesel vehicles with zero emission vehicles. Eligible vehicles include medium- and heavy-duty trucks; school, shuttle, tour, and transit buses; airport and port cargo handling equipment. Rebates may also cover up to 45% of the cost of an electric vehicle charging station. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is funded by Hawaii’s portion of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. For more information, including program guidance and application, see the HSEO Diesel Replacement Rebate Program website.
Hawaii's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NEVI Formula Program requires the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) 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), describing how the state intends to distribute NEVI funds. The submitted plans must be established according to NEVI guidance.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-62.5 and 196-65)
Transportation Electrification Loan Program
The Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) provides a revolving credit line of up to $50,000,000 to state government entities for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles and the installation of electric vehicle supply equipment. For more information, see the HGIA website.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-62.5 and 196-65)
Utility / Private Incentives
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebates – Hawaii Energy
Hawaii Energy administers the EV Charging Station rebate program on behalf of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, which offers rebates to commercial entities, workplaces, and multifamily dwellings for the installation of Level 2 and direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations. Eligible applicants include individuals, non-profit organizations, private businesses, government entities, and homeowner associations or authorized entities on behalf of multifamily dwellings. Rebates are available for new and retrofitted EV charging stations and award amounts vary based on project type, charging station technology, and port count. Rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis while funding lasts. For more information, including program eligibility and requirements, see the Hawaii Energy EV Charging Station website.
Propane Vehicle Rebate – Pacific Propane Gas Association (PPGA)
PPGA offers commercial customers a rebate of $1,500 for the purchase of a new propane vehicle or propane conversion. Eligible vehicles must be purchased in 2023. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, see the PPGA Autogas website.
Laws and Regulations
Hydrogen Fueling Station Rebate Authorization
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is authorized to establish a rebate program for renewable hydrogen fueling systems. The program may offer rebates of up to $200,000 for the installation of a hydrogen fueling system and for upgrading the capacity of an existing hydrogen fueling system. In administering the rebate program, the PUC must prioritize projects that are publicly available, serve fuel cell electric vehicle fleets, or serve multiple tenants, employees, or customers. Renewable hydrogen means hydrogen produced from renewable sources that produce less than 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. The Hawaii Legislature established a special fund within the PUC to support this rebate program. The special fund receives $0.03 of the tax collected from each barrel of petroleum product sold by a distributor to any retail dealer or end user in Hawaii. The PUC may contract with a third-party, non-government entity to administer, operate, and manage the rebate program.
Medium- and Heavy-Duty (MHD) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, 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.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebate Program Authorization
The Hawaii Public Utility Commission (PUC) is authorized to establish an EV charging station rebate program. The PUC may contract with a third-party, non-government entity to administer, operate, and manage the rebate program. The PUC must prioritize rebate awards for EV charging stations that are publicly available; serve fuel cell electric vehicle fleets; serve multiple tenants, employees, or customers; support tourism; or serve low- or moderate-income or environmental justice communities. The Hawaii Legislature established a special fund within the PUC to support the EV Charging Station Rebate Program. The special fund receives $0.03 of the tax collected from each barrel of petroleum product sold by a distributor to any retail dealer or end user in Hawaii.
Vehicle Performance Contracts
State agencies must identify and evaluate energy efficiency program contracts to implement, including vehicle and related infrastructure programs, as well as vehicle maintenance or fuel cost savings as they relate to a fleet’s energy efficiency program. Energy performance contracts may include installation of electric vehicle supply equipment infrastructure.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 36-42)
Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Deployment Assessment
The Hawaii State Energy Office must convene a working group to evaluate opportunities and barriers for installing EV charging stations in MUDs. The working group must:
- Assess barriers to EV charging stations at MUDs;
- Consider changes to state statutes and administrative code to support EV charging station deployment at MUDs;
- Identify best practices for EV charging station installations at MUDs;
- Create guidelines for EV charging stations in MUDs;
- Develop solutions for EV charging cost recovery and electrical capacity management; and,
- Develop recommendations for installing shared-use EV charging stations at MUDs.
The working group must prepare a report of its findings, recommendations, and proposed legislation and submit it to the Hawaii Legislature 20 days prior to the 2023 legislative session.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Registration
Owners of electric vehicles and AFVs must pay an annual fee of $50, in addition to standard registration fees. Fees contribute to the State Highway Fund.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 249-31)
Automated Vehicle (AV) Task Force
The Attorney General will convene an AV Legal Preparation Task Force (Task Force) to prepare Hawaii with laws and regulations required for AVs. The Task Force will examine the adaptation and testing of AVs and existing laws relating to legal and insurance regulation of AVs, and make recommendations for AVs in Hawaii. The Task Force published a report in December 2020.
(Reference House Concurrent Resolution 220, 2019)
Public Utility Definition
An entity that owns, controls, operates, or manages a plant or facility primarily used to charge or discharge a vehicle battery that provides power for vehicle propulsion is not defined as a public utility.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 269-1)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Requirement
All parking facilities that are available for use by the general public and include at least 100 parking spaces must designate at least one parking space specifically for EVs, provided that no parking spaces required by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines are reduced or displaced. Spaces must be clearly marked and equipped with EV charging stations. All EV charging stations installed must be Level 2 or direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations. An owner of multiple parking lots may designate and install EV charging stations in fewer parking spaces than required in one or more parking lots, as long as the owner meets the requirement for total number of aggregate spaces for all parking lots. A fee of $50-100 applies for non-EVs that park in spaces designated for EVs.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 291-71 and 291-72)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Policies for Multi-Family Residences
A multi-family residential dwelling or townhouse owner may install EV charging stations on or near a parking stall at the dwelling as long as the EV charging station is in compliance with applicable rules and specifications, the EV charging station is registered with the private entity within 30 days of installation, and the homeowner receives consent from the private entity if the EV charging station is placed in a common area. Private entities may adopt rules that restrict the placement and use of EV charging station but may not charge a fee for the placement. The EV charging station owner is responsible for any damages resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the EV charging station. A private entity includes associations of homeowners, community associations, condominium associations, cooperatives, or any nongovernmental entity with covenants.
A working group within the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism identified and examined the issues regarding multi-family dwelling EV charging station requests to private entities. The group reported its findings and recommendations to the state legislature in December 2015.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-7.5)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Road Usage Charge Development Requirement
The Hawaii Department of Transportation must develop a long-term mileage-based road usage fee implementation plan for EVs and submit it to the Hawaii Legislature prior to the 2026 legislative session.
(Reference Senate Bill 1534, 2023)
Transportation Emission Reduction Goal and Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Support
Hawaii established state goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve zero emissions across all transportation sectors by 2045. To support these goals, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) must establish a Clean Ground Transportation Working Group and an Interisland and Transpacific Clean Transportation Working Group. HDOT and the Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) must develop plans in coordination with both working groups to ensure sufficient EV charging capacity to support the growing use of electric modes of transportation in Hawaii. HDOT and HSEO must:
- Develop a plan to increase the State’s electric charging capacity at a rate that exceeds state electric vehicle (EV) sales and projected charging needs;
- Allow EVs to access high-occupancy vehicle lanes until EVs constitute at least 40% of all new vehicle sales; and,
- Develop and implement other options to accelerate the transition to zero-emission transportation.
The working groups must submit an annual report to the Hawaii Legislature on progress made and recommendations.
Alternative Fuel Standard Development
The state of Hawaii is responsible for facilitating the development of alternative fuels and supporting the attainment of a statewide alternative fuels standard. According to this standard, alternative fuels will provide 20% of highway fuel demand by 2020 and 30% by 2030. For the purposes of the alternative fuels standard, cellulosic ethanol is equivalent to 2.5 gallons of non-cellulosic ethanol.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-42)
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Acquisition and Rental Requirements
State agencies must coordinate vehicle acquisition efforts to transition light-duty state fleet vehicles to 100% zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035. To support the state fleet transition to ZEVs, state and county agencies must purchase light-duty vehicles that reduce petroleum consumption. Vehicle purchasing priority is as follows:
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs);
- Other alternative fuel vehicles; and
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Exemptions may apply. State agencies must purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicle available that meets agency needs, use alternative fuels and ethanol blended gasoline when available, evaluate a purchase preference for biodiesel blends, and promote the efficient operation of vehicles. For the purpose of this requirement, an alternative fuel is defined as an alcohol fuel, an alcohol fuel blend containing at least 85% alcohol, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), hydrogen, biodiesel, a biodiesel blend containing at least 20% biodiesel, a fuel derived from biological materials, or electricity generated from off-board energy sources.
State employees renting a vehicle for government business must rent either EVs or HEVs. Rental rates for EVs and HEVs must be comparable to that of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle equivalent.
For more information, see the [Hawaii State Energy Offices Vehicle Purchasing Guidelines website.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 103D-412 and 196-9)
Clean Transportation Promotion
The state of Hawaii has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Energy to collaborate to produce 70% of the state’s energy needs from energy-efficient and renewable sources by 2030 and 100% of the state’s energy needs from energy-efficient and renewable sources by 2045. This effort is part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. The goals of the partnership include defining the structural transformation required to transition the state to a clean energy-dominated economy; demonstrating and fostering innovation in the use of clean energy, including alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies; creating opportunities for the widespread distribution of clean energy benefits; establishing an open learning model for other states and entities to adopt; and building a workforce with cross-cutting skills to support a clean energy economy in the state. For more information, see the MOU and Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative website.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-10.5)
Idle Reduction Requirement
A vehicle may not idle at a loading zone, parking or service area, route terminal, or other off-street areas, except for the following situations: during adjustment or repair of the engine; during auxiliary equipment operation such as operation of cranes and certain bulk carriers, provided no visible smoke is emitted and the equipment is being used for its intended purpose; during loading and unloading of passengers, not to exceed three minutes; and during engine start-up and cool-down, not to exceed three minutes.
Energy Feedstock Program
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (Department) established the Energy Feedstock Program to promote and support the production of energy feedstock development in Hawaii and to establish milestones and objectives for production of energy feedstock in the state to meet its energy requirements. Energy feedstock includes feedstock used to produce biofuels. For more information, see the Department’s 2017 and 2020 Energy Feedstock Program reports.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 141-9)
Biofuels Procurement Preference
State and county agency contracts awarded for the purchase of diesel fuel must give preference to bids for biofuels or blends of biofuel and petroleum fuel. When purchasing fuel for use in diesel engines, the price preference is $0.05 per gallon of B100. For blends containing both biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel, the preference is applied only to the biodiesel portion of the blend. For the purpose of this requirement, biodiesel is a vegetable oil-based fuel that meets ASTM specification D6751 and biofuel is a fuel from non-petroleum plant- or animal-based sources that can be used for the generation of heat or power.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 103D-1012)
Renewable Hydrogen Program
The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism established the Hawaii Renewable Hydrogen Program (Program) to manage the state’s transition to a renewable hydrogen economy. A Hydrogen Investment Capital Special Fund was created to provide seed capital for, and venture capital investments in, private sector and federal projects for research, development, testing, and Program implementation. The Program is responsible for designing, implementing, and administering activities including:
- Strategic partnerships for research, development, testing, and deployment;
- Demonstration projects, including infrastructure for hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, and fueling hydrogen vehicles;
- Statewide hydrogen economy public education and outreach;
- Promotion of Hawaii’s renewable hydrogen resources to potential partners and investors;
- A plan, for implementation during 2010 to 2020, to transition the Island of Hawaii to a hydrogen-fueled economy and to extend the application of the plan throughout the state; and
- Evaluation of policy recommendations that will encourage the adoption of hydrogen vehicles, fund the Hydrogen Investment Capital Special Fund, and support investment in hydrogen infrastructure.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 196-10 and 206M-63)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Deployment Support
The Hawaii Legislature recommends that the Hawaii Department of Transportation, Department of Accounting and General Services, and State Energy Office develop, implement, administer, and manage transportation system programs at public facilities, including constructing EV charging stations at public parking locations and ensuring EV infrastructure exceeds anticipated charging demand.
(Reference Senate Resolution 91, 2023)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Road Usage Charge Program
Beginning July 1, 2025, the owner of an EV may elect to pay an annual mileage-based road usage fee in lieu of paying an additional registration fee. The fee is $0.08 per mile, up to $50 per year.
Beginning June 30, 2028, the additional registration fee expires, and all EV owners must pay the state mileage-based road usage charge. Additional conditions apply. For more information, see the Hawaii Department of Transportation Road Usage Charge Demonstration website.
(Reference Senate Bill 1534, 2023)
Alternative Fuel Tax Rate
A distributor of any alternative fuel used to operate an internal combustion engine must pay a license tax of $0.0025 for each gallon of alternative fuel the distributor sells or uses. In addition, a distributor must pay a license tax for each gallon of fuel sold or used by the distributor for operating a motor vehicle on state public highways according to the following rates:
|0.145 times the rate for diesel
|0.11 times the rate for diesel
|0.25 times the rate for diesel
|0.33 times the rate for diesel
For other alternative fuels, the rate is based on the energy content of the fuels as compared to diesel fuel, using a lower heating value of 130,000 British thermal units per gallon as a standard for diesel, so that the tax rate, on an energy content basis, is equal to one-quarter the rate for diesel fuel. Counties may impose additional taxes.
(Reference Hawaii Revised Statutes 243-4 and 243-5)
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Access to Roadways
An NEV may operate at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour (mph) and is only permitted on roadways with speed limits of 35 mph or less. An NEV must have a notice of the operational restrictions pertaining to the vehicle permanently attached to, or painted on, the vehicle in a location that is in clear view of the driver. An NEV is a four-wheeled self-propelled electrically-powered motor vehicle that produces no emissions, has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds, and conforms to the minimum safety equipment requirements in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500.