Wisconsin Laws and Incentives
Listed below are the summaries of all current Wisconsin 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:
Wisconsin's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NEVI Formula Program requires the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) 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.
For more information about Wisconsin’s NEVI planning process, see the WisDOT Electrification of Wisconsin website. To review Wisconsin’s NEVI plan, see the Joint Office State Plans for EV Charging website.
Heavy-Duty Transit Bus Grants
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) offers grants for the replacement of eligible public transit buses. Funding is available for the replacement and scrapping of model year 1992-2009 heavy-duty public transit buses with new replacement diesel or alternative fueled buses. The program is funded by Wisconsin’s portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including how to apply, see the DOA VW Mitigation Program website.
Renewable Fuel Producer Excise Tax and Inspection Exemption
The first 1,000 gallons of renewable fuel that an individual produces each year are exempt from the motor vehicle fuel excise tax, the petroleum inspection fee, and any petroleum inspection requirements not required under federal law. These exemptions only apply if the fuel is used in the individual’s personal vehicle and is not sold. An individual may also produce renewable fuel for personal use without a business tax registration certificate or a motor vehicle fuel tax license. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax website.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.01(2n) and 168.05(6))
Vehicle Battery and Engine Research Tax Credits
A corporation involved in qualified research is eligible for a tax credit equal to 11.5% of the qualified research expenses that the corporation incurs in Wisconsin during the taxable year. Qualified research includes, but is not limited to, automotive batteries for use in hybrid electric vehicles that improve the efficiency of electricity use, and research related to designing internal combustion engines for vehicles, including expenses related to designing vehicles that are powered by such engines and improving production processes for such engines and vehicles. For the purpose of the tax credit, internal combustion engines include fuel cell, electric, and hybrid electric vehicles. Corporations may claim an additional tax credit equal to 5% of the amount paid or incurred during the taxable year to construct and equip new facilities or expand existing facilities used in Wisconsin for qualified research. For more information see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Research Credits website.
(Reference 71.28(4)(ab)(2), 71.28(4)(ad), and 71.28(5)(ad))
Clean Diesel Grant Program
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funding for projects that reduce diesel emissions in Wisconsin. Funding for 25% to 100% of eligible projects costs is available to businesses, nonprofits, and public entities that reduce diesel emissions by replacing engines, retrofitting exhaust controls, purchasing new vehicles, or installing idle reduction equipment. Eligible projects include school buses, transit buses, and non-road engines, equipment, or vehicles. For more information, including funding amounts and application details, see the DNR Clean Diesel Grant Program website.
Alternative Fuel Tax Refund for Taxis
A person using alternative fuel to operate a taxi used to transport passengers may be reimbursed for the cost of the Wisconsin state fuel tax. Refund claims must be filed within one year of the fuel purchase date and must be for a minimum of 100 gallons of alternative fuel.
Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption
A county, city, village, town, or other political subdivision may not levy or collect any excise, license, privilege, or occupational tax on motor vehicle fuel, alternative fuels, or the purchase, sale, handling, or consumption of motor vehicle fuel or alternative fuels.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.82)
Idle Reduction and Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Weight Exemption
Any vehicle or combination of vehicles equipped with fully functional idle reduction technology may exceed the state’s gross and axle weight limits by up to 550 pounds (lbs.) to compensate for the additional weight of the idle reduction technology. To qualify, the vehicle operator must be able to prove the weight of the idle reduction technology with written certification and demonstrate that the idle reduction technology is fully functional at all times.
NGVs may exceed the weight limits by an amount equal to the difference of the weight of the natural gas tank and fueling system and the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system or by up to 2,000 lbs., whichever is less.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 348.15(3)(f) and 348.15(3)(h))
Biodiesel Fuel Use Incentive for Schools
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) may provide school districts financial aid to cover the incremental cost of purchasing biodiesel to operate school buses, as compared to the cost of petroleum diesel fuel. If in any fiscal year insufficient funds are available to provide school districts with the full amount of reimbursement for which a school district qualifies, DPI will prorate the available funds among the entitled school districts on a per pupil basis.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 121.575)
Wisconsin Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Programs
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Office of Energy Innovation (OEI) offers grant opportunities and programs to support the development of renewable energy and energy storage technology. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, comprehensive energy planning for fleets and electric vehicles. For more information, see the OEI Energy Innovation Grant Program website.
Utility / Private Incentives
Electric Vehicle (EV) Time-Of-Use (TOU) Rate – Madison Gas and Electric (MGE)
MGE offers a TOU rate for customers that own an EV. For more information, see the MGE Shift & Save website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Leasing Program – Madison Gas and Electric (MGE)
MGE residential customers can pay $20 per month for the installation and maintenance of a Level 2 EV charging station. Participants must sign a five-year service agreement. For more information, see MGE’s Charge@Home website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Time-Of-Use (TOU) Rates – Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy offers TOU rates to residential customers that own an EV. For more information, see the Xcel Energy EV Accelerate at Home website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Incentive – Xcel Energy
The Xcel Energy EV Accelerate at Home program offers to install and maintain Level 2 EV charging stations at residential locations. Participants will also be enrolled in a TOU rate for electricity used to charge EVs. For more information, including how to apply, see the Xcel Energy EV Accelerate at Home website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Incentives – Touchstone Energy Network
Touchstone Energy member cooperatives may offer EV incentives to residential customers. Local cooperatives that may currently offer incentives include:
- Barron Electric Cooperative
- Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative
- Clark Electric Cooperative
- East Central Energy
- Price Electric Cooperative
- Riverland Energy Cooperative
- Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services
For more information, including a full list of member cooperatives and available incentives, see the Touchstone Energy Cooperative Network website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) and EV Charging Station Grant Program
RENEW Wisconsin’s EVs for Good initiative offers grants to nonprofit organizations interested in purchasing an EV and $500 for installing Level 2 or higher EV charging station. For more information, including program details and how to apply, visit the RENEW Wisconsin EVs for Good Rebates website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Support
Wisconsin 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 Financing Program Authorization
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program allows property owners to borrow funds to pay for energy efficiency improvements, including EV charging stations. Cities, villages, towns, or counties are authorized to establish PACE programs. For more information, see the PACE Wisconsin website.
Regional Electric Vehicle (REV) Midwest Plan
Wisconsin joined Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota (Signatory States) in signing the REV Midwest memorandum of understanding (MOU) to accelerate vehicle electrification in the Midwest. Signatory States are committed to:
- Accelerate medium- and heavy-duty fleet electrification;
- Collaborate on regional electric vehicle (EV) charging station siting and deployment analyses with a focus on commercial routes;
- Standardize regulations, messaging, and customer experience related to electric vehicles (EVs) across state lines;
- Evaluate opportunities for workforce development;
- Identify historically disadvantaged communities for equitable EV charging station development and EV adoption; and,
- Educate consumers and fleet owners to raise EV awareness, reduce range anxiety, and increase EV adoption.
The Signatory States maintain a coordination group composed of senior leadership from each state who meet and report on the above actions. For more information, see the REV Midwest Partnership Announcement.
Climate Change Task Force
The Governor convened a Climate Change Task Force (Task Force) to advise the development of a mitigation strategy and incorporation of recommendations, including transportation, into existing plans. The Task Force submitted a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor in December 2020. Recommended strategies include developing a statewide transportation electrification plan to support EV deployment and EV charging station development. For more information, see the Wisconsin Task Force website.
(Reference Executive Order 52, 2020)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Use Policy
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) encourages state employees operating state-owned or leased motor vehicles to use hybrid electric vehicles or vehicles that operate on gasohol (a motor fuel containing at least 10% alcohol) or alternative fuels whenever feasible and cost effective. DOA must place a list of gasohol and alternative fueling station locations in each state-owned or state-leased motor vehicle for driver reference. DOA also encourages Wisconsin residents and state employees who use personal motor vehicles on state business to use gasohol and alternative fuels.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045)
Alternative Fuels Tax
A state excise tax is imposed on the use of alternative fuels. Alternative fuels include propane and natural gas. The current tax rates are as follows: $0.226 per gallon of propane; $0.247 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of compressed natural gas; and $0.197 per GGE of liquefied natural gas. No tax is imposed on alternative fuels used by the U.S. government or its agencies (when presented with a valid exemption certificate) or on vehicles used for urban mass transportation of passengers. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Alternate Fuel Tax website.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.40)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Fees
In addition to standard registration fees, all-electric vehicle owners must pay an annual fee of $175. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle owners must pay an annual fee of $75.
Alternative Fuel License
Any person acting as an alternative fuels dealer must hold a valid alternative fuel license and certificate from the Wisconsin Department of Administration. No person may use alternative fuels in the state unless the person holds a valid alternative fuel license or an authorized supplier has delivered the alternative fuel. For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue License, Permit and Registration Services website.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 78.47)
Volkswagen (VW) Settlement Allocation
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) may use funds awarded to Wisconsin through the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace vehicles in the state fleet. The DOA will also establish a grant program for alternative fuels, electric vehicle charging stations, and the replacement of school buses. For more information, see the DOA VW Mitigation Program website.
Renewable Fuel Sales Volume Goals
The Wisconsin Legislature sets goals for minimum annual renewable fuel sales volumes based on annual renewable fuel volumes required under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. On an annual basis, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Revenue, and the Office of Innovation, must determine whether the annual goals for the previous year were met. If the goals were not met, DATCP must issue a report assessing the causes. If DATCP determines that the goals are likely to be met, it must establish requirements that may include the following:
- Reporting, recordkeeping, or testing requirements;
- Annual requirements for renewable fuel sales;
- Quarterly or monthly requirements for renewable fuel sales if necessary to maintain fuel availability and smooth fluctuation in demand;
- A system for trading credits;
- Procedures to temporarily suspend a sales requirement; and,
- Fees for administration and enforcement.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 100.60)
Sustainable Biofuels Production Practices
The Wisconsin Bioenergy Council (Council) must identify voluntary best management practices for sustainable biomass and biofuels production. The Council must report its findings, at least biennially, to agencies and private parties that assist biofuel feedstocks and biofuels producers.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 93.47)
Biodiesel is defined as a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, either in pure form or mixed in any combination with petroleum-based diesel fuel. The definition of biodiesel is expanded for purposes of existing provisions that encourage alternative fuels use in state-owned vehicles.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 16.045(1)(c))
Biodiesel Labeling Requirement
Biodiesel fuel retailers may not advertise or offer for sale fuel labeled as pure biodiesel unless the fuel contains no other type of petroleum product, is registered as biodiesel fuel with the federal government, and meets all applicable ASTM specifications. Retailers also may not sell fuel labeled as a biodiesel blend unless the fuel contains at least 2% pure biodiesel fuel, the blend percentage is identified, and the fuel meets all applicable ASTM standards.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 168.14(2)-168.14(3))
Ethanol Dispensing Requirements
Fuel retailers may use the same fueling nozzle and hose to dispense gasoline containing 0% ethanol, ethanol blends containing 10-15% ethanol, and blends containing no more than 10% ethanol (E10) if either:
- The retail station displays information about and provides at least one fueling nozzle and hose that dispenses only E10 and a label is displayed that states use is for passenger vehicles only; or,
- A label is displayed stating a minimum of 4 gallons of fuel must be purchased
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 168.105)
Propane Supplier Requirements
A retail supplier may only distribute propane if the supplier holds a license from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Suppliers must renew the license every two years. In addition, propane retail suppliers must also provide and maintain liability insurance. Penalties for noncompliance may apply. (Reference Wisconsin Statutes 101.16)
Low-Speed Vehicle Access to Roadways
A low-speed vehicle is defined as a self-propelled motor vehicle that conforms to the definition and requirements in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. A golf cart is not considered a low-speed vehicle. The governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance, allow a low-speed vehicle to operate on any roadway within the municipality that has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, regardless of whether the municipality has jurisdiction over the roadway.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 349.26 and 340.01(27h))
Liquid Alternative Fuel Sale Requirement
An individual may only sell liquid alternative fuels if the seller provides the purchaser a delivery ticket with the name and address of the seller, the name and address of the purchaser, a description of the fuel delivered, and a meter reading showing the volume of liquid fuel delivered. The definition of alternative fuels includes those suitable for motor vehicles.
(Reference Wisconsin Statutes 98.225(1) and 98.225(2))
Lake Michigan Electric Vehicle (EV) Circuit
Wisconsin joined Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois (Signatory States) in signing the Lake Michigan EV Circuit Tour memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create an EV charging corridor along the Lake Michigan coastline that is intended to make it possible to seamlessly drive an EV across the Signatory States’ that border Lake Michigan. Signatory States are committed to:
- Coordinating on regional EV charging infrastructure siting and deployment strategies;
- Achieving a consistent EV charging station user experience across Signatory States;
- Encouraging EV tourism around Lake Michigan;
- Removing barriers to EV adoption and reducing range anxiety;
- Identifying and developing best practices for EV charging, infrastructure optimization, information sharing, and electricity demand management;
- Providing reliable long-distance driving routes for EV drivers.
The Signatory States will maintain a working group composed of senior leadership from each state who will meet and report on the above actions. For more information, see the MOU.