Massachusetts Laws and Incentives
Listed below are the summaries of all current Massachusetts 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:
Vehicle Emissions Reduction Grants
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Volkswagen Open Solicitation Grant Program (Program) provides up to 80% of the cost of new diesel or alternative fuel replacements and repowers for eligible government entities. For eligible non-government entities, the Program provides up to 40% of the cost of a new diesel or alternative fuel repower, up to 25% of the cost of a new diesel or alternative fuel vehicle, and up to 75% of the cost of an all-electric repower or replacement, with associated charging infrastructure. Qualifying alternative fuels include, but are not limited to, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, electricity, and diesel electric hybrid. Vehicles that qualify for replacement or repower include:
|Model Year||Vehicle Type|
|1992-2009||Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks|
|1992-2009||Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks|
|2009 or older||Class 4-8 School Buses, Shuttle Buses, and Transit Buses|
Eligible government and non-government entities may also receive funding for up to 80% and 75%, respectively, of the cost for the all-electric repower or replacement of airport ground support equipment, forklifts, and port cargo handling equipment.
The program is funded by Massachusetts’ portion of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including future opportunities and application guidelines, see the MassDEP Apply for a VW Open Solicitation Grant website.
Public Access Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants
The Public Access Charging Program provides grants to non-residential entities for 80% of the cost of Level 2 EVSE and installation, up to $6,250 per port, and a maximum of $50,000 per street address for hardware and installation costs. Qualified EVSE must be available to the public at least 12 hours per day. This program is part of Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) and is funded by Massachusetts’ portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including future funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the Apply for MassEVIP Public Access Charging Incentives website.
Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for 60% of the cost of Level 1 or Level 2 EVSE installed at MUDs, up to $50,000 per street address. Eligible entities include private, public, or non-profit MUDs with ten or more residential units. The program is funded by Massachusetts’ portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. For more information, including funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the Apply for MassEVIP MUD Charging Incentives website.
Workplace Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for 60% of the cost of Level 1 or Level 2 workplace EVSE, up to $50,000 per street address. Eligible entities include private, public, or non-profit workplaces with 15 or more employees on site. The program is funded by Massachusetts’ portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. For more information, including funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the Apply for MassEVIP Workplace Charging Incentives website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants for Public Fleets
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for the purchase or lease of qualified PEVs, zero emission motorcycles, and Level 2 EVSE. Eligible applicants include local governments, public universities and colleges, and state agencies. Vehicle incentives are available in the following amounts:
|Vehicle Type||Incentive for Purchase||Incentive for Lease|
|All-electric vehicle (EV)||Up to $7,500||Up to $5,000|
|Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)||Up to $5,000||Up to $3,000|
|Zero emission motorcycle||Up to $750||N/A|
Applicants may receive funding for a maximum of 25 vehicles, including EVs, PHEVs, and zero emission motorcycles.
Funding of up to $7,500 per address is also available for Level 2 EVSE associated with the purchase or lease of at least two PEVs. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. For more information, including funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the Apply for MassEVIP Fleet Incentives website.
Plug-In and Zero Emission Vehicle Rebates
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources' Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Program offers residents, non-profits, and businesses rebates of up to $2,500 toward the purchase or lease of eligible all-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles and up to $1,500 for the purchase or lease of eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Eligible non-profit and business fleet vehicles may include rental cars, company cars, and delivery vehicles. Vehicle purchase prices must be below $50,000. Applicants must apply within three months of the vehicle purchase or lease date and must retain ownership of the vehicle for a minimum of 36 months. For more information, including application and eligibility requirements, visit the MOR-EV website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Grants
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources' Clean Vehicle Project offers grants for public and private fleets to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Eligible vehicles include those fueled by natural gas, propane, and electricity, including hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid vehicles. Eligible infrastructure includes natural gas fueling stations and electric vehicle supply equipment . For information about how to apply for funding, visit the State and Federal Electric Vehicle Funding Programs website.
Electric Vehicle Emissions Inspection Exemption
Vehicles powered exclusively by electricity are exempt from state motor vehicle emissions inspections. For more information, see the Massachusetts Vehicle Check website. (Reference Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Regulations and Standards 310 CMR 60.02)
Idle Reduction Weight Exemption
Any motor vehicle equipped with qualified idle reduction technology may exceed the state gross, axle, tandem, or bridge weight limits by up to 400 pounds to account for the weight of the technology. The idle reduction technology must be able to provide electrical service, heating, or cooling to the vehicle. The additional weight may not exceed the actual weight of the idle reduction unit. The vehicle operator must also be able to prove the weight of the idle reduction technology and demonstrate that the technology is fully functional. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 19A)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation Incentive - Eversource
Eversource’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station program provides make-ready installation costs for non-residential customers to install approved Level 2 or direct current (DC) fast EVSE at businesses, multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and fleet facilities. To qualify, customers must own, lease, or operate a site where vehicles are typically parked for at least two hours. Eligible installation expenses include trenching, dedicated service meter, conduit, and wiring costs. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including application guidelines, see the Eversource Charging Stations website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Incentive - Eversource
Eversource Electric Vehicle (EV) Home Charger Demand Response program offers an incentive of up $300 to residential customers that charge their PEV during off-peak periods. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, see the Eversource EV Charger Demand Response website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Discount - Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD)
BELD offers customers a discount of $250 for the purchase of a qualified Level 2 EVSE. To qualify, customers must enroll in the Bring Your Own Charger Program. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including eligible EVSE criteria, see the BELD Charging Incentives website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Incentive - Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD)
BELD’s Smart Charging Program offers a bill credit of $8 per month to customers that charge their PEVs between 9pm and 12pm the next day on weekdays or at any time during the weekend. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, see the BELD Rebates and Incentives (Charging) website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate
Residential customers of participating Massachusetts municipal light plants (MLPs) may be eligible for a free or discounted Level 2 EVSE through the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company's Home Energy Loss Prevention Services (HELPS) program. Incentives vary by MLP. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including participating MLPs, see the HELPS EV Charger Incentive website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Discounts - Green Energy Consumers Alliance
Green Energy Consumers Alliance's Drive Green program provides discounts on qualified PEVs purchased or leased from participating dealerships. The discount program is available to all consumers. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including participating dealerships and the discounts they offer, see the Drive Green website.
Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Program - National Grid
National Grid’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program provides non-residential customers with installation and funding support to install approved Level 2 or direct current (DC) fast EVSE at businesses, multi-unit dwellings, and workplaces. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including application guidelines, see the EV Charging Station program website.
Laws and Regulations
Support for Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs) and Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)
The Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth (Commission) was established to advise the Governor's Office on how to understand and plan for transportation advancements, including the increasing deployment of PEVs and AVs, in the Commonwealth from 2020 through 2040. The Commission investigated the following topics:
- Transportation electrification and the infrastructure necessary to support the increasing deployment of PEVs;
- Autonomous and connected vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to support the increasing deployment of these technologies;
- Impact of on-demand transit and mobility services on public transportation;
- Impact of greenhouse gas emissions on transportation and methods to increase resiliency of transportation infrastructure; and
- Land use or demographic changes that will shape future transportation planning.
(Reference Executive Orders 579 and 580, 2018)
Support for Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Testing and Operation
The Secretary of Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) established a working group to assess the safe development of AVs. The AV Working Group convenes and consults with experts on motor vehicle safety and vehicle automation, and works with the Legislature on any proposed AV legislation. MassDOT, with input from the AV Working Group, will issue guidance to allow for the safe testing of automated technologies on designated state highways and on other public roadways. In 2019, the AV Working Group released a report of their findings. For more information, see the AV Working Group website. (Reference Executive Order 572, 2017)
Public Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Requirements
Owners and operators of public EVSE that require payment must provide payment options that allow access by the public. In addition, payment should not require users to pay a subscription fee or obtain a membership of any kind; however, required fees may be conditional on such memberships. Owners and operators can impose reasonable restrictions on EVSE use, such as limiting access to visitors of the business. In addition, owners and operators of public EVSE must provide the location, hours of operation, payment, and characteristics of each EVSE to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 25A, Section 16B-16E)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Parking Space Regulations
A city or town may restrict certain parking areas for ZEVs, which includes all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles. A person who is found responsible for a violation of the restricted parking area may be subject to a penalty of no more than $50 and the vehicle may be removed from the parking spot. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 22A)
Voluntary Biofuels Program
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will launch a voluntary biofuels program through which DOER will work with biodiesel suppliers to certify biofuels. Lessons learned from this voluntary program will provide the basis for future expansion and full implementation of a state biofuels mandate. For more information, refer to the DOER Advanced Biofuels website.
Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington (signatory states) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs through involvement in a Multi-State ZEV Task Force (Task Force).
By January 2021, the Task Force will develop a multi-state action plan to support electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The Task Force will consider actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including limiting all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales in the signatory states to ZEVs by 2050. The signatory states will also seek to accelerate the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs to benefit disadvantaged communities and explore opportunities to coordinate and partner with key stakeholders.
For more information, see the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle MOU.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
Massachusetts joined California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of ZEVs through involvement in a ZEV Program Implementation Task Force (Task Force). In May 2014, the Task Force published a ZEV Action Plan (Plan) identifying 11 priority actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including deploying at least 3.3 million ZEVs and adequate fueling infrastructure within the signatory states by 2025. The Plan also includes a research agenda to inform future actions. On an annual basis, each state must report on the number of registered ZEVs, the number of public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and hydrogen fueling stations, and available information regarding workplace fueling for ZEVs.
In June 2018, the Task Force published a new ZEV Action Plan for 2018-2021. Building on the 2014 Action Plan, the 2018 Action Plan makes recommendations for states and other key partners in five priority areas:
- Raising consumer awareness and interest in electric vehicle technology;
- Building out a reliable and convenient residential, workplace and public charging/fueling infrastructure network;
- Continuing and improving access to consumer purchase and non-financial incentives;
- Expanding public and private sector fleet adoption; and
- Supporting dealership efforts to increase ZEV sales.
For more information, see the Multi-State ZEV Task Force website.
Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia (D.C.), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia signed a Declaration of Intent to create the TCI, a regional initiative to improve transportation, develop a clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions and air pollutants from the transportation sector. The signatory states and D.C. agree to explore and develop policies and programs that result in greater energy efficiency of regional transportation systems and reduce emissions. Additionally, states support the deployment of clean vehicles and fueling infrastructure, such as electric vehicle supply equipment, to maximize the economic opportunities and emissions reductions. For more information, see the TCI website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Building Standards
At least one parking space in any new commercial construction with over 15 parking spaces must be made-ready for EVSE. An electric vehicle-ready space is defined as a designated parking space with a dedicated branch circuit for EVSE. Additional terms and conditions apply. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143, Section 94 and 95 and Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR 13.00 Subsection C405.10)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Feasibility Studies
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and select state agencies and commissions are tasked with conducting ZEV feasibility studies on the following topics:
- Evaluating opportunities for electrification of the state fleet, including vehicles used by the regional transit authorities;
- Authorizing ZEVs, including plug-in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or fuel cell vehicles, for use in high occupancy vehicle lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle; and
- Assessing surcharges, levies, or other assessments to offset projected gas tax revenue loss from the purchase or operation of ZEVs.
Alternative Fuel Offering Requirement
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation may not enter into, renew, or renegotiate a contract with a fuel provider for services on the Massachusetts Turnpike without requiring the provider to offer alternative fuel. Alternative fuel is defined as an energy source that is used to power a vehicle and is not gasoline or diesel. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6C, Section 75 and Chapter 90, Section 1)
State Energy Policy
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) leads and coordinates efforts between state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, build resilience, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In December 2018, EEA published the Massachusetts Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), which includes transportation strategies to meet GHG emissions limits. EEA must update the CEP every five years. For more information, see the CEP website. (Reference Executive Order 569, 2016)
Public Utility Definition
An entity that owns, operates, leases, or controls electric vehicle supply equipment is not defined as a public utility. (Reference Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities 13-182)
Transportation Emissions Reduction Reporting
Massachusetts must meet annually declining greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits for mobile sources, as specified in the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act. By July 1, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) must quantify and report aggregate MassDOT transportation GHG emissions annually. Among other measures to achieve reductions, MassDOT must increase plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) within the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and MassDOT fleet and promote PEV use by motorists. (Reference Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Regulations and Standards 310 CMR 60.05 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 21N, Section 3)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Sales Requirements and Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards
The Massachusetts LEV Program requires all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks, medium-duty vehicles, and heavy-duty vehicles and engines sold and registered in Massachusetts to meet California motor vehicle emissions standards and compliance requirements specified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. Manufacturers must meet the greenhouse gas emissions standard and the ZEV production and sales requirements. For more information, see the Massachusetts LEV Program website. (Reference Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Regulations and Standards 310 CMR 7.40)
State Hybrid Electric (HEV) Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Acquisition Requirements
When purchasing new motor vehicles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must purchase HEVs or AFVs to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the ability of such vehicles to perform their intended functions. HEVs and AFVs must be acquired at a rate of at least 5% annually for all new motor vehicle purchases so that not less than 50% of the motor vehicles the Commonwealth owns and operates will be HEVs or AFVs by 2018.
State fleets must also acquire AFVs according to the requirements of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 and the Massachusetts Office of Vehicle Management (OVM) must approve any light-duty vehicle acquisition. All agencies must purchase the most economical, fuel-efficient, and low emission vehicles appropriate to their mission. OVM, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, will set new minimum standards for vehicle fuel economy and work with agencies to acquire vehicles that provide the best value for the Commonwealth on a total cost of ownership basis.
By July 1 of each year, OVM must compile a report detailing the progress made towards these requirements.
(Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 7, Section 9A)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Access to Massachusetts Turnpike and Tunnels
An AFV powered by propane or natural gas may only use the Massachusetts Turnpike at or between Interchange 1 in West Stockbridge and Interchange 14 in Weston if the vehicle has a special fuel transportation permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The AFV must conform to applicable federal and state laws and regulations. An AFV powered by compressed natural gas or propane may only use Massachusetts tunnels if the vehicle conforms to applicable federal regulations and industry standards, displays required markings to identify its alternative fuel system, and is not used to transport fuel. (Reference 700 Code of Massachusetts Regulations 7.07)
Idle Reduction Requirement
A motor vehicle may not idle for more than five consecutive minutes. This regulation does not apply to: 1) vehicles being serviced, provided that operation of the engine is essential to the repair; 2) vehicles delivering or accepting goods or merchandise for which engine assisted power is necessary and substitute alternate power cannot be made available; or 3) vehicles requiring auxiliary power for an associate power need other than movement that cannot be substituted by an alternate power source provided that such operation does not cause or contribute to air pollution. Violators are subject to fines. Local boards of health, local police, and state and federal officials may enforce the state anti-idling law. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 16A, and Department of Environmental Protection Regulations and Standards 310 CMR 7.11(1)(b))
State Agency Alternative Fuel Use Requirement
All Massachusetts agencies must use a minimum of 15% biodiesel (B15) in all on- and off-road diesel engines, provided that the Commonwealth Office of Vehicle Management and other appropriate agencies have determined that a B15 goal is appropriate. Each year, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) must set minimum percentage requirements for E85 use in state flexible fuel vehicles, depending on the availability of the fuel in the state. Agencies may apply for exemptions from the biodiesel and E85 fuel use requirements if the agencies demonstrate that the alternative fuel is not available within a reasonable distance, cannot be purchased by state vehicle operators through state procurement, or the price of the alternative fuel is cost prohibitive, as determined by DOER. (Reference Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance Administrative Bulletin 13, 2006)
Deregulation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a Motor Fuel
The sale of CNG by a fueling station for use as fuel to operate a motor vehicle is deregulated; however, separate records, books, and accounts of such sales must be maintained. Investments in related infrastructure must not reduce the availability or increase the cost of natural gas to customers who purchase natural gas for use other than as fuel to operate a motor vehicle. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164, Section 941/2)