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Please note: This summary is provided to help you understand the regulations. Consult the references provided for links to the full text of the regulations.

Alternative Fuels -- State Regulations for Virginia

This page contains selected data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) at the U. S. Department of Energy. Additional details and the latest updates may be found at the AFDC summary page for Virginia.

Vehicle Acquisition

State agency vehicles (purchasing guidelines)

Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) policies and procedures must include guidelines for the purchase of fuel-efficient, low emissions, commonwealth-owned vehicles, as well as guidelines for leasing vehicles that give a preference to compact, fuel-efficient, and low emissions vehicles. By January 1, 2012, DGS was required to establish a plan to replace commonwealth-owned or operated vehicles with vehicles that operate using natural gas, electricity, or other alternative fuels, to the greatest extent reasonable, considering available infrastructure, vehicle location and use, capital and operating costs, and potential for fuel savings. All commonwealth agencies and institutions must cooperate with DGS in developing and implementing the plan. (Reference Virginia Code 2.2-1176 and Executive Order 19, 2010)

Fuel Use

State agency vehicles

Commonwealth agencies and institutions must procure only diesel fuel containing at least 2% biodiesel (B2) or green diesel fuel for use in on-road diesel internal combustion engines; this requirement does not apply if supply is not readily available or the cost of the fuel exceeds the cost of conventional diesel by 5% or more. The Virginia Department of General Services must establish conditions under which commonwealth agencies and institutions may procure these blended fuels, taking into consideration the availability of the fuel and cost of biodiesel compared to diesel fuel. (Reference Virginia Code 2.2-1111 and Executive Order 19, 2010)


Definition (biofuels)

Advanced biofuels are defined as fuels derived from any cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin from renewable biomass or algae. Biofuels are defined as neat biodiesel, green diesel, or ethanol fuels that are not blended with a conventional fuel such as gasoline or diesel. Biodiesel is defined as a fuel composed of mono-alkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats that is designated B100 and meets the requirements of ASTM D6751. (Reference Virginia Code 45.1-394 and 58.1-439.12:02)

Definition (green diesel)

Green diesel is a fuel produced from non-fossil renewable resources, including agricultural or silvicultural plants; animal fats; residue and waste generated from the production, processing, and marketing of agricultural products, silvicultural products; and other renewable resources; that meets applicable ASTM specifications. (Reference Virginia Code 45.1-394 and 58.1-439.12:02)

Definition (ethanol)

Ethanol is defined as denatured alcohol fuel that is derived from agricultural products or other renewable resources and meets applicable ASTM standards. (Reference Virginia Code 45.1-394 and 58.1-439.12:02)

Funding (alternative fuel commercialization)

The Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation will identify, obtain, disburse, and administer funding for alternative fuel and related technology research, development, and commercialization. The funds may be distributed as grants, loans, or through other methods. (Reference Virginia Code 23-300 through 23-303)

Inspection Exemption (emissions)

The Virginia emissions inspection program, which requires biennial inspections of motor vehicles, does not apply to vehicles powered by compressed or liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), hydrogen, a combination of compressed natural gas and hydrogen, or electricity. Qualified HEVs with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings of at least 50 miles per gallon (city) are also exempt from the emissions inspection program unless remote sensing devices indicate the HEV may not meet current emissions standards. (Reference Virginia Code 46.2-1177 through 46.2-1178)

License Requirement

Alternative fuel providers, bulk users, and retailers, or any person who fuels an alternative fuel vehicle from a private source that does not pay the alternative fuels tax must obtain an alternative fuel license from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. (Reference Virginia Code 58.1-2244)

Tax (alternative fuels)

Liquid alternative fuels used to operate on-road vehicles are taxed at a rate of $0.175 per gallon. EVs registered in Virginia are subject to a $50.00 per vehicle annual license tax. (Reference House Bill 1248, 2012, and Virginia Code 58.1-2249)

Tax Credit (biofuels-related jobs)

Qualified employers are eligible for a $500 tax credit for each new green job created that offers a salary of at least $50,000, for up to 350 jobs per employer. The credit is allowed for the first five years that the job is continuously filled. For the purposes of this tax credit, a green job is defined as employment in industries relating to renewable or alternative energy, including hydrogen and fuel cell technology, landfill gas, and biofuels. The tax credit expires on January 1, 2015. (Reference Virginia Code 58.1-439.12:05)

Traffic Exemption (HOV lane)

Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) displaying the Virginia Clean Special Fuels license plate may use Virginia HOV lanes, regardless of the number of occupants. For HOV lanes serving the I-95/I-395 corridor, only registered vehicles displaying Clean Special Fuels license plates issued before July 1, 2006, are exempt from HOV lane requirements. For HOV lanes serving the I-66 corridor, only registered vehicles displaying Clean Special Fuels license plates issued before July 1, 2011, are exempt from HOV lane requirements. Eligible vehicles include dedicated AFVs and some hybrid electric vehicles; see the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website for a complete list of qualifying vehicles. The annual fee for Clean Special Fuels license plates is $25 in addition to the prescribed fee for commonwealth license plates. (Reference House Bill 85, 2012, and Virginia Code 33.1-46.2 and 46.2-749.3)

Weight Limit Exemption (idle reduction)

Any motor vehicle equipped with an auxiliary power unit or other idle reduction technology may exceed the gross, single axle, tandem axle, or bridge formula weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the added weight of the idle reduction technology. (Reference Virginia Code 46.2-1129.1)