Ohio Laws and Incentives

Listed below are the summaries of all current Ohio 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

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Emissions Reduction Grants

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides matching grants of $50,000 to $2 million for the replacement or repower of medium- and heavy-duty, on- and off-road vehicles with new clean diesel or natural gas, propane, hybrid electric, or all-electric vehicles and equipment. Owners of eligible medium- and heavy-duty diesel fleets in priority counties must match at least 25% of funds, with larger matches required for some project categories. This grant program is funded by Ohio's portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including application periods, see the Ohio EPA website.

Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Incentive

The Ohio Development Services Agency administers the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, which provides financial assistance to businesses, non-profit organizations, school districts, and local governments for the purchase and installation of alternative fueling, blending, and distribution facilities or terminals. For more information, including funding availability, see the Ohio Development Services Agency Alternative Fuel Transportation Program website. (Reference Ohio Revised Code 122.075 and 125.831)

Point of Contact
Preston Boone
Energy Program Analyst
Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Assistance
Phone: (614) 644-8864
preston.boone@development.ohio.gov

Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant Program

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency administers a Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant Program for the purpose of reducing emissions from diesel engines in trucks, school and transit buses, marine fleets, and locomotives, as well as highway construction equipment. Eligible entities may use this funding for:

  • Projects related to certified engine configurations, including new, rebuilt, or remanufactured engine configurations the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board has certified;
  • The purchase or use of hybrid electric and alternative fuel vehicles that are allowed under U.S. Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement program guidance; or
  • Installation of verified technology including pollution control devices, retrofits, and development of truck stop electrification and auxiliary power units.
To be eligible for funding, fleets must operate at least 65% of the time in Ohio counties that have been designated nonattainment or maintenance for particulate matter 2.5 and/or ozone. Private fleets are eligible, but they must establish a public-private partnership with a government organization that is eligible for CMAQ funds in order to apply for funding. A minimum 20% non-state and non-federal funding match is required. For more information, including application periods, see the Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant Program website.

(Reference Ohio Revised Code 122.861)

Point of Contact
Carolyn Watkins
Chief, Office of Environmental Education; Administrator, Diesel Emission Reduction Grants
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: (614) 644-3768
carolyn.watkins@epa.ohio.gov

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Emissions Inspection Exemption

Vehicles powered exclusively by electricity, propane, or natural gas are exempt from state motor vehicle emissions inspections after receiving a one-time verification inspection. For more information, see the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's E-Check website. (Reference Ohio Administrative Code 3745.26)

Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Weight Exemption

An NGV may exceed the gross vehicle weight restrictions by 2,000 pounds, except on the interstate system or a highway, road, or bridge that is subject to maximum weight restrictions. (Reference Ohio Revised Code 5577.044)

Utility/Private Incentives

Propane Vehicle and Mower Rebate - OPGA

Ohio Propane Gas Association (OPGA) provides rebates of $1,000 to Ohio propane customers for the purchase of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved propane vehicles or mowers. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants are limited to five rebates. For more information, including eligibility requirements and the rebate application, see the OPGA Autogas website.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Lease Pilot Program - FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy residential customers can lease a Level 2 EVSE for a monthly rate for three years. Included in the lease is the installation of the EVSE and a repair or replacement guarantee for the life of the agreement. For more information, including terms and conditions, see the FirstEnergy Electric Vehicle Charger Lease website.

Commercial Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Incentive Program - AEP Ohio

American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio offers financial incentives for the hardware, network services, and installation of EVSE for up to 300 Level 2 and 75 direct current (DC) fast charging stations. Incentives in varying amounts are available to all non-residential customers that have a valid AEP Ohio account. EVSE must be installed at a workplace, government facility, multi-unit dwelling, or other publicly available charging location served by AEO Ohio. Projects must involve a new installation from the approved EVSE list. Customers in income eligible census tracts may qualify for greater incentives. For more information, including the incentive amounts and application terms and conditions, see the AEP Equipment Charging Incentives website.

Laws and Regulations

Electric Drive Vehicle Registration Fee

Effective January 1, 2020, electric drive vehicles owners must pay an annual fee in addition to other registration fees. The fee is $200 for all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and $100 for hybrid electric vehicles. Fees contribute to the Highway Operating Fund. (Reference House Bill 62, 2019, and Ohio Revised Code 4501.01 and 4503.10)

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Regulations and Committee

The Ohio Office of the Governor created DriveOhio to allow for the safe testing of AVs on state highways and other public roads. The purpose of the program is to connect municipalities with industry, education, and community partners to advance smart mobility solutions. The Ohio Department of Transportation will appoint an executive director of DriveOhio to oversee activities and administration. The executive director may establish a DriveOhio Advisory Board to receive advice and recommendations. By July 30, 2020, and each year thereafter, the executive director will submit an annual report to the governor.

All AVs tested in Ohio must have a designated operator responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle while in use and complies with all traffic laws and regulations, among other requirements. The governor may pause the testing of AVs in Ohio if there is evidence that the technology is not safe.

An AV is defined as a vehicle equipped with technology that is capable of performing all of the real-time operational and tactical functions required to operate a vehicle. To test AVs, each company must register with DriveOhio and provide required information, including a summary report outlining its approach for the safe testing of their autonomous system.

(Reference Executive Orders 2019-26D, 2019, and 2018-04K, 2018)

Alternative Fuel Signage

The Ohio Turnpike Commission allows businesses to place their logos on directional signs within the right-of-way of state turnpikes. An alternative fuel retailer may include a marking or symbol within their logo indicating that it sells one or more types of alternative fuel. Alternative fuels are defined as E85, fuel blends containing at least 20% biodiesel (B20), natural gas, propane, hydrogen, or any fuel that the U.S. Department of Energy has determined is substantially not petroleum. For more information, see the Ohio Turnpike Commission website. (Reference Ohio Revised Code 125.831 and 5537.30)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Acquisition and Fuel Use Requirements

With the exception of law enforcement vehicles, all newly acquired state agency vehicles must be capable of using an alternative fuel and must use the relevant alternative fuel if it is reasonably priced and available. Alternative fuel is defined as E85, fuel blends containing at least 20% biodiesel (B20), natural gas, propane, hydrogen, electricity, or any other fuel that the U.S. Department of Energy has determined is substantially not petroleum. State agencies must also meet the annual average fuel economy requirement set by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services on all passenger automobiles purchased. Law enforcement and emergency rescue work vehicles are exempt from this requirement. The Office of the Ohio Treasurer established a biodiesel revolving fund in which funds appropriated by the Ohio General Assembly can be used to pay for the incremental cost of biodiesel used in state owned or leased diesel vehicles. (Reference Ohio Revised Code 125.831-125.836)

Natural Gas Measurement

Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) used for transportation must be measured in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) or diesel gallon equivalents (DGE). One DGE of LNG is the equivalent of one gallon of motor fuel. One GGE of CNG is equal to 139.31 cubic feet or 6.38 pounds. (Reference House Bill 62, 2019, and Ohio Revised Code 5735.012 and 5735.011)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion

It is unlawful to tamper with vehicle emissions control systems unless the action is for the purpose of converting a motor vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel and is in compliance with the standards adopted under the Clean Air Act Amendments. (Reference Ohio Revised Code 3704.16-3704.162)