Maine Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Maine 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

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Rebates

Efficiency Maine’ EV Accelerator provides rebates to Maine residents, businesses, government entities, and tribal governments for the purchase or lease of a qualified battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at participating Maine dealerships. Rebates are offered based on participant type for vehicles purchased or leased between August 29, 2019 to December 21, 2021:

Type of Vehicle Individuals, Businesses, Organizations Qualified Low-Income Maine Resident Maine Governmental Entity or Tribal Government
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)$2,000$3,000$7,500
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) $1,000$1,500$2,000

The program is funded by Maine’s portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including eligible vehicles and preapproval requirements, see Efficiency Maine’s EV Accelerator website.

(Reference House Paper 442, 2019)

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Funding

Efficiency Maine Trust (Efficiency Maine) funds public, workplace, and multi-unit dwelling Level 2 EVSE in strategic locations within Maine. EVSE along specific roads and at locations that will likely experience a high frequency of use will be prioritized.

The program is funded by Maine’s portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Funding for this program is not currently available (verified September 2019). For more information, including how to apply and prioritized EVSE site characteristics, see the Efficiency Maine Electric Vehicle Initiatives website.

Diesel Emission Reduction Project Funding

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is accepting applications for funding of heavy-duty on-road new diesel or alternative fuel repowers and replacements, as well as off-road all-electric repowers and replacements, through November 15, 2019. Both government and non-government entities are eligible for funding. Vehicles that qualify for replacement or repower include:

  • Model Year (MY) 1992-2009 Class 8 local freight trucks and port drayage trucks;
  • MY 1992-2009 Class 4-7 local freight trucks;
  • MY 2009 or older Class 4-8 school buses, shuttle buses, and transit buses;
  • Forklifts with greater than 8,000 pounds of lift capacity;
  • Port cargo handling equipment; and
  • High emissions diesel-powered or spark ignition airport ground support equipment.
Eligible alternative fuels include, but are not limited to, compressed natural gas, propane, and electricity. This grant program is funded by Maine's portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including how to apply, see the MaineDOT VW Settlement Application for Funding website.

Biodiesel Fuel Tax Exemption

An individual that produces biodiesel for personal use or use by a member of his or her immediate family is exempt from the state fuel excise tax. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 36, Section 3203 and 3204-A)

Idle Reduction Weight Exemption

Any vehicle equipped with a qualified auxiliary power unit (APU) may exceed the state's gross vehicle and axle weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the additional weight of the APU. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A, Section 2360)

Low-Speed Vehicle Inspection Exemption

Low-speed vehicles are exempt from annual state vehicle inspections. Low-speed vehicles must be registered, carry a special license plate, and meet specified state and federal safety equipment requirements. Additional restrictions may apply. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A, Sections 501, 1752, and 1925)

Laws and Regulations

State Plan to Reduce Petroleum Consumption

The Governor's Energy Office developed the Comprehensive Energy Plan in in an effort to advance the principles, programs, and integrated plans necessary to secure a safe, clean, and affordable energy future for the citizens of Maine. The plan is updated triennially. The plan published in February 2015, suggests that the state should consider public-private partnerships to evaluate mass transit options and expand natural gas, propane, and electric vehicles in fleets. For more information see the Maine Comprehensive Energy Plan Update. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 2, Section 9)

Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Regulation Exemption

An entity that sells electricity for the sole purpose of charging the battery of a PEV is not defined or regulated as an electricity provider. An electric vehicle supply equipment provider may charge a submetered user only for kilowatt-hours used. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 35-A, Sections 313-A and 3201)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Infrastructure Development

Maine's smart grid infrastructure policy promotes the development, implementation, availability, and use of smart grid technology. The policy includes the goal of integrating advanced electric storage and peak-reduction technologies, such as PEVs, into the electric system. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 35-A, Section 3143)

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Testing and Operation Authorization for Municipalities

Municipalities may enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Maine Secretary of State, Department of Transportation, and Department of Professional and Financial Regulation to develop, test, and operate AVs for public transportation use. An AV is defined as any vehicle that is equipped with a technology that has the capability to operate the vehicle without the direct control of the driver. A municipality that conducts an AV pilot must submit a summary report to the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Transportation (Committee) by December 1, 2021. Based on these pilots, the Committee may recommend legislation relating to the deployment of AVs in public transportation during the Regular Session of the 130th Legislature. (Reference House Paper 1204, 2018, and Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A, Section 2093)

Support for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)

The Commission on AVs (Commission) was established to support the testing and deployment of AVs on public roads in Maine and make recommendations for changes needed to existing state laws for the purposes of governing AVs. The Commission must coordinate with state agencies and consult outside experts and the public for their input on deploying and regulating AVs. The Commission will deliver an initial report detailing its progress by January 15, 2020, and a final report on its findings by January 15, 2022, to the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. The Commission must also develop a process for authorizing an AV tester to deploy AVs on public roads. (Reference House Paper 1204, 2018 and Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A, Section 2093)

Idle Reduction Requirement

A commercial vehicle or gasoline powered vehicle may not idle for more than five minutes during any 60-minute period. Exemptions are allowed for the following: 1) a vehicle stopped in traffic or at the direction of a law enforcement official; 2) a vehicle needing auxiliary power for equipment or for climate control to prevent a safety or health emergency; 3) a vehicle being inspected by a state or federal motor vehicle inspector; 4) an emergency vehicle being used in the course of official business; 5) a commercial vehicle using air conditioning or heating during a driver rest period or while waiting to load or unload; and 6) when the ambient outside air temperature is less than zero degrees Fahrenheit. When the outside ambient air temperature is between zero and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, vehicles may idle for up to 15 minutes during a 60-minute period. In addition, a passenger bus my idle for up to 15 minutes during a 60-minute period while passengers are on board. Any owner of a location that is used for loading and unloading of commercial vehicles may not require that vehicles idle for periods longer than 30 minutes while waiting to load or unload at the location. Violators are subject to fines. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 38, Section 585-L)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Sales Requirements and Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

Maine has adopted the California motor vehicle emissions standards and compliance requirements specified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. These regulations apply to all passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty vehicles, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. Manufacturers must meet the greenhouse gas emissions standard and the ZEV production and sales requirements. (Reference Department of Environmental Protection Rules, Chapter 127)

Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) Beneficial Electrification Pilot Program

MPUC is conducting a pilot program to support beneficial electrification of the transportation sector, defined as electrification of a technology that improves the efficiency of the energy grid or reduces consumer costs. Beneficial electrification must also lead to reduced fossil fuel usage, and provide no harm to the environment, utilities, or ratepayers. For more information, please see the MPUC Electricity website.

Alternative Fuel Tax Rates

Blended fuels that contain at least 10% gasoline or diesel are taxed at the full tax rates of gasoline ($0.30 per gallon) or diesel ($0.312 per gallon). Alternative fuel tax rates are as follows:

FuelTax Rate
E85$0.30 per gallon
Biodiesel blends of up to 90%$0.312 per gallon
Biodiesel blends of 90-100%$0.287 per gallon
Propane$0.219 per gallon
Compressed natural gas (CNG)$0.243 per 100 cubic feet
Liquefied natural gas$0.178 per gallon
Hydrogen$0.07 per 100 cubic feet
Hydrogen CNG$0.208 per 100 cubic feet

For more information see the Maine Revenue Services website. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 36, Section 3203)

Low-Speed Vehicle Access to Roadways

Low-speed vehicles may only be used on roadways with posted speed limits of up to 35 miles per hour. Low-speed vehicles must be registered, carry a special license plate, and meet specified state and federal safety equipment requirements. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 29-A, Sections 501, 1925, and 2089)

Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Acquisition Requirements

The Maine State Purchasing Agent may not purchase or lease any car or light-duty truck for use by any state department or agency unless the car or truck has a manufacturer's estimated highway mileage rating of at least 45 miles per gallon (mpg) or 35 mpg, respectively. Cars and light-duty trucks purchased for law enforcement and other special use purposes the State Purchasing Agent designates are exempt from this requirement. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 5, Section 1812-E)

Provision for Establishment of Clean Fuel Vehicle Insurance Incentives

An insurer may credit or refund any portion of the premium charged for an insurance policy on a clean fuel vehicle in order to encourage its policyholders to use clean fuel vehicles, as long as insurance premiums on other vehicles are not increased to fund these credits or refunds. Clean fuels include, but are not limited to, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, alcohol fuels containing not less than 85% alcohol by volume, and electricity. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 10, Sections 963-A, and Title 24-A, Section 2303-B)

Biodiesel-Blended Diesel Documentation Requirement

A person that sells or transfers a title to a biomass-based diesel or biodiesel blend for resale purposes must document the transfer. The document may be in the form of an invoice, bill of sale, or other written document, and must include the name of the transferor, transferee, date of transfer, volume in gallons of the product transferred, and the amount of biomass-based diesel contained in the product. The transfer document must be kept for a period of four years from the transfer date. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 10, Section 1663)

Prohibition of the Sale of Ethanol-Blended Gasoline

A person or distributor may not offer, sell, or distribute gasoline that contains ethanol at a level greater than 10% (E10) or contains corn-based ethanol as an additive. For a person, the prohibition does not take effect until at least two of the six New England states have enacted laws that prevent the sale of these fuel blends. For a distributor, the prohibition does not take effect until at least ten other states or a number of states with a collective population of 30 million have enacted laws preventing the sale of these fuel blends. (Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 38, Section 585M and Title 10, Section 1457-B)