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:
Maine's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NEVI Formula Program requires the Maine Department of Transportation 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.
To review Maine’s NEVI plan, see the Joint Office State Plans for EV Charging website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebates
Efficiency Maine’s EV Accelerator provides rebates to Maine residents, businesses, government entities, and tribal governments for the purchase or lease of a new EV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at participating Maine dealerships. Rebate amounts are based on participant type:
|Type of Vehicle||Individuals||Qualified Moderate-Income Individuals||Qualified Low-Income Individuals||Businesses and Organizations||Government Entity, Tribal Government, and Non-Profits|
Qualified low-income residents are also eligible for a rebate of up to $2,500 for the purchase of a used EV or PHEV. Eligible vehicles must be purchased or leased between December 21, 2020, and December 31, 2023. 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 Initiatives website.
(Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 35-A, Section 10126)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebates for Businesses
The Efficiency Maine EV Accelerator provides rebates to businesses for the purchase of new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and EVs at participating dealerships. Rebate amounts are based on vehicle type:
|Vehicle Type||Rebate Amount|
|All-Electric Van (Chassis Cab or Cutaway)||$5,000|
|All-Electric Cargo Van||$8,000|
Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Businesses must have a fleet of at least five registered light-duty vehicles to be eligible for the light-duty rebates. For more information, including how to apply and eligibility requirements, see the Efficiency Maine EV Rebates website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Funding
Efficiency Maine offers a rebate of $350 to government and non-profit entities for the purchase of Level 2 EV charging stations. Applicants are awarded one rebate per port and may receive a maximum of two rebates. EV charging stations must be purchased between December 21, 2020, and December 31, 2023. The program is funded by Maine’s portion of the Volkswagen (VW) Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including how to apply and priority site characteristics, see the Efficiency Maine EV Initiatives website.
(Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 35-A, Section 10127)
Biodiesel Fuel Tax Exemption
An individual that produces biodiesel for personal use or use by a member of their immediate family is exempt from the state fuel excise tax.
Idle Reduction Weight Exemption
Any heavy-duty 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)
Clean Transportation and Infrastructure Loans
Efficiency Maine administers the Maine Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator (Accelerator) to provide loans for qualified alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) projects, including the purchase of electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles, zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), and associated vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure. Recipients must direct 40% of funds towards low-income communities and communities of color.The Accelerator must also establish a financing program to provide low- and zero-interest loans to schools, municipalities, and non-profit organizations to purchase ZEVs and associated fueling infrastructure. The Accelerator must publish an annual report, including greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from investments.
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.
Utility / Private Incentives
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Support
Maine 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
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Promotion Requirement
Electric utilities must design rates to encourage EV charging station use and file rate schedule proposals with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Utilities filed proposals with the PUC on November 1, 2021. Proposed EV charging stations must align with the Maine Won’t Wait climate framework.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Deployment Support and Emissions Reduction Roadmap
Maine must limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve the following reduction goals:
- By January 1, 2030, reduce overall GHG emissions in the state to 45% below 1990 levels;
- By January 1, 2040, be on an annual trajectory to achieve the 2050 annual emissions level;
- By January 1, 2045, achieve net-zero GHG emissions; and
- By January 1, 2050, reduce overall GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection adopted rules to track gross and net annual GHG emissions.
The Maine Climate Council released Maine Won’t Wait in December 2020, establishing a framework and identifying strategies to meet emissions reductions goals, including increasing vehicle efficiency, EV deployment, alternative fuel use, and reducing vehicle miles traveled. For more information, see the Maine Climate Council website.
(Reference Title 38, Section 576-A and 577-A )
Electric Vehicle (EV) Deployment and Emissions Reduction Roadmap
The Governor’s Energy Office and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future published the Maine Clean Transportation Roadmap (Roadmap) in December 2021. The Roadmap identifies policies, programs, and regulatory changes needed to accelerate widespread adoption of EVs and other clean transportation technologies to meet Maine’s transportation emission reductions and EV deployment goals. The Roadmap also includes recommendations to accelerate the EV market in Maine by increasing EV charging station deployment, evaluating the impact of EVs on electric utilities and the grid, and prioritizing equitable adoption of EVs.
(Reference Executive Order 36, 2021)
Recognition Program for Electric Vehicles (EVs)
The Governor’s Energy Office and the Efficiency Maine Trust will launch a clean vehicle recognition program. This program will recognize leading Maine dealerships, businesses, local governments, and other entities that are advancing achievement of Maine’s transportation targets through EV sales, EV charging infrastructure, fleet conversions, and educational programming.
(Reference Executive Order 36, 2021)
Public Utility Definition
An entity that sells electricity for the sole purpose of charging the battery of an electric vehicle (EV) is not defined or regulated as an electricity provider. An EV charging station operator may charge a submetered user only for kilowatt-hours used.
Accessible Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Working Group
The Commissioner of Transportation must establish a working group to study EV charging station accessibility. The working group must develop a document that simplifies the United States Access Board’s Design Recommendations for Accessible EV Charging Stations report for individuals interested in the design and installation of EV charging stations. Additionally, the working group must recommend EV charging stations accessibility standards and how those standards should be incorporated into local code standards. The Commissioner of Transportation must submit a report that includes that working group’s recommendations by January 3, 2024.
(Reference House Bill 467, 2023)
Electric Vehicle (EV) 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 EVs, into the electric system.
(Reference Maine Revised Statutes Title 35-A, Section 3143)
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
Maine joined California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, 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 (EV) charging stations 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 (EV) Deployment and Fleet Acquisition Goals
The Maine Central Fleet Management Division and the Department of Public Safety must meet the following light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet acquisition goals:
- By 2025, 50% of state fleet LDV acquisitions are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); and,
- By 2030, 100% of state fleet LDV acquisitions are ZEVs and PHEVs
The state also established a goal of increasing statewide EV and PHEV registrations to 220,000 by 2030, and encourages county and municipal fleets to increase ZEV and PHEV purchases to 100% of all new LDV acquisitions by 2035.
Zero Emission School Bus Acquisition and Working Group
Beginning in 2035, 75% of school bus acquisitions must be zero emission school buses. The Office of Policy Innovation and the Future will convene a working group to:
- Review different types of zero emission school buses and the benefits and challenges associated with each technology;
- Analyze financing options for the acquisition of zero emission school buses;
- Engage electric utilities and other private entities that are interested in partnering with school administrators to acquire zero emission school buses;
- Plan for the deployment of charging infrastructure to support zero emission school buses; and,
- Assess training and education options for zero emission school bus use and maintenance.
In January 2023, the working group published a report of their findings.
The Maine Board of Education may obtain loans or enter into a lease-purchase agreement to acquire zero emission school buses. The term of the loan or lease purchase may be up to 15 years.
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, and Bureau of Insurance 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 Maine Department of Transportation Rules 800)
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) Support
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 Maine Department of Transportation Rules 800)
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.
Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) Beneficial Electrification Pilot Program
MPUC conducted a pilot program to support beneficial electrification of the transportation sector. Beneficial electrification must lead to reduced fossil fuel usage and provide no harm to the environment, utilities, or ratepayers. For more information, including the program’s final report, see the MPUC Electricity website.
(Reference Reference Docket No. 2019-00217)
Beneficial Electrification Policy Support and Planning
Maine Governor’s Energy Office (Office) may petition the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to procure energy from renewable resources to achieve emission reduction and renewable energy goals to meet electricity demand. MPUC must also conduct a study on cost-effective consumer financing of beneficial electrification productions, including EV charging station equipment. The study must analyze the advantages and disadvantages of various financing methods, and MPUC must submit a report of their findings to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology by January 5, 2024.
(Reference Senate Bill 1724, 2023)
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:
|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 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.
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.
Electric School Bus Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Pilot Program
Efficiency Maine must assess the feasibility of implementing a V2G pilot project for electric school buses within the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District. Efficiency Maine must evaluate the cost effectiveness of the pilot project, ways to minimize costs and maximize ratepayer benefits, the cost of grid interconnection, and whether a V2G pilot project could be implemented within Efficiency Maine’s budget. By January 15, 2024, Efficiency Maine must submit a report of their findings and recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology.
(Reference House Bill 519, 2023)