Does Montana Have a ZEV Mandate? Clean Transport in Big Sky Country”

Direct answer: No, Montana does not currently have a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate in place.

As someone seeking to understand the landscape of clean transportation and emission reduction, you may find Montana’s absence of a ZEV mandate disconcerting.

This article will delve into this complex issue, comparing Montana’s stance with states that have embraced ZEV mandates, such as California.

We’ll also provide insight into existing legislation around electric vehicles (EVs) in the state and explore the potential for a future ZEV program in Montana. So, if you’re passionate about sustainable transportation and renewable energy solutions, this post is expressly for you.

Montana State map cutout with Montana flag superimposed

Key Takeaways

1Montana does not have a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.
2The state has passed legislation requiring registration fees for electric vehicles, and there is a law that establishes an annual charge for resident electric vehicles.
3Starting July 1, 2023, public EV charging stations in Montana will be subject to a tax of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour. Despite these developments related to electric vehicles, Montana hasn’t adopted any ZEV mandates or targets similar to those found in states like California and the other 12 states that have followed California’s lead in this area.

Understanding ZEV Mandates and Montana’s Position

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandates are an essential tool for promoting clean transportation and encouraging the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), including electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

These mandates require automakers to sell a certain number of ZEVs, thereby facilitating vehicle electrification and emission reduction.

Montana, however, does not have a ZEV mandate. The Big Sky Country has not yet adopted any standards or targets similar to those found in states like California or the other 12 states that have followed California’s lead.

This absence of a ZEV mandate means that there are no regulations compelling manufacturers to increase their sales of low or zero-emission vehicles in Montana. However, this doesn’t mean electric vehicle usage is entirely unsupported within the state.

In fact, Montana has passed legislation focusing on alternative fuel vehicles. The state has established registration fees and yearly charges for resident EV owners. Starting July 1, 2023, public EV charging stations in Montana will be subject to a tax of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour.

Legislation and Charges for Electric Vehicles in Montana

While Montana does not currently enforce a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, it has passed legislation related to electric cars. The state requires registration fees for all types of alternative fuel vehicles including electric and hybrid cars.

The legislation also mandates an annual charge for resident electric vehicle owners which is designed as an additional road-use tax considering these vehicles do not contribute to gas taxes typically used for road maintenance.

Moreover,Montana will begin applying a tax on public EV charging stations starting July 1, 2023,. This would be at $0.03 per kilowatt-hour – meaning that users will pay slightly more when charging their cars at these stations over time. It’s crucial for prospective or current EV owners within the state to anticipate these costs when budgeting their overall car expenses.

Comparing Montana to Other States with ZEV Mandates

Compared with several other states in US such as California which have formalized ZEV mandates, Montana’s approach towards sustainable transportation seems significantly different.

States with strong clean energy strategies like California often leverage the authority granted by the Clean Air Act waiver through programs run by organizations such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB). They adopt aggressive approaches towards renewable energy promotion including incentivizing manufacturers who meet or exceed emission reduction targets.

In contrast, Montana lacks similar overarching policies targeting carbon emissions reduction from transportation. The absence of a formalized program geared towards increasing sales of low-emission or zero-emission vehicles makes it stand out from its counterparts.

Local Incentives and Potential for a ZEV Program in Montana

Despite not having implemented any formal statewide program promoting low-emission vehicle sales,Montana offers local incentives directed towards boosting clean transportation initiatives.

Several city-level programs provide financial incentives making it more affordable for consumers who wish to purchase alternative fuel vehicles such as EVs or hybrids.These initiatives play significant roles in promoting sustainable transportation even without statewide directives.

There is potential for establishing a formalized, statewide program that requires increased sales of low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicles over the next decade. This could be achieved if local incentives were expanded upon. With concerted effort from officials, policymakers, and citizens, the future could see Montana joining ranks among American states leading the charge toward cleaner, renewable energy sources.


While Montana has taken steps to regulate and tax electric vehicles, it does not have a comprehensive Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate in place. This indicates a lack of commitment to increasing the use of low or zero-emission vehicles over the next decade compared to states like California and others with established ZEV programs.

Jonathan Rice

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