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:
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, as well as idle reduction technology. Eligible vehicles include those fueled by natural gas, propane, and electricity, including hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid vehicles. Eligible infrastructure includes natural gas and hydrogen fueling stations as well as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), including solar powered EVSE. 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)
Massachusetts Plug-In and Zero Emission Vehicle Rebates
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources' Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Program offers rebates of up to $2,500 through December 31, 2018, to customers purchasing or leasing a plug-in electric vehicle or zero emission motorcycle. Beginning January 1, 2019, MOR-EV will offer rebates of up to $1,500 toward the purchase or lease of eligible battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. Rebates are available to Massachusetts residents and residents must submit applications within three months of the vehicle purchase or lease date. Applicants 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.
Workplace Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for 50% of the cost of Level 1 or Level 2 workplace EVSE, up to $25,000. Eligible applicants include employers with 15 or more employees in a non-residential place of business. For more information, including funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the MassEVIP website.
Point of Contact
Ms. Sejal P. Shah
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Phone: (617) 556-1015
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for the purchase or lease of qualified PEVs, zero emission motorcycles, and Level 2 EVSE. Grants are available for up to $7,500 for the purchase or lease of a PEV, up to $13,500 for the purchase or lease of Level 2 EVSE, and up to $750 for the purchase or lease of a zero emission motorcycle. Eligible applicants include local governments, public universities and colleges, and state agencies. For more information, including funding availability, application, and eligibility requirements, visit the MassEVIP website.
Point of Contact
Ms. Sejal P. Shah
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Phone: (617) 556-1015
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)
Cellulosic Biofuel Tax Exemption
Fuel consisting of cellulosic biofuel or a blend of gasoline and cellulosic biofuel is eligible for a fuel tax exemption in proportion to the percentage of the fuel content consisting of cellulosic biofuel. For these purposes, eligible cellulosic biofuel includes fuel derived from cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin derived from renewable biomass that yields at least a 60% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to the average life cycle GHG emissions for petroleum-based fuel sold in 2005. This exemption is available through December 31, 2017. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64A, Section 1 and 1A and Massachusetts Department of Revenue TIR 09-4)
All-Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate - Eversource
Eversource customers are eligible for a $5,000 rebate for the purchase of a new 2018 Nissan LEAF. To receive the rebate, applicants must show a copy of an Eversource bill at participating Nissan dealerships with the Fleet Certification Code B66019. Rebates are available through January 2, 2019. For more information, see the Eversource EVs 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 Smart Charging Program. 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. For more information, see the BELD Charging Incentives website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Incentive
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. Participating MLPs include Groton, Ipswich, Marblehead, Sterling, Shrewsbury, South Hadley, Wakefield, and West Boylston. Incentives vary by MLP. For more information, see the HELPS EV Charger Incentive website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Discounts - Mass Energy
Mass Energy's Drive Green with Mass Energy program provides discounts on qualified PEVs purchased or leased from participating dealerships. The discount program is available to all consumers, including those that are not in Mass Energy's service territory. For more information, including participating dealerships and the discounts they offer, see the Drive Green with Mass Energy 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.
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. 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 June 2010 Massachusetts Advanced Biofuels Mandate Program Announcement.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
Massachusetts joined California, Connecticut, 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.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Building Standards
The Massachusetts State Board of Building Regulations and Standards and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources will develop building and electric code requirements for residential and appropriate commercial buildings for EVSE. The regulations may vary, depending on whether or not an EVSE is already installed or will be installed. (Reference Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143, Section 94)
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 battery 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 and to 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. (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 Public Utility file 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 310 CMR 60.05 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 21N, Section 3)
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; Executive Order 388, 1996; and Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance Administrative Bulletin 10, 2016)
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 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)
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)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Access to Massachusetts Turnpike
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. (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 310 CMR 7.11(1)(b))
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)