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Rules and Regulations

Mobile Sources and Rhode Island

Mobile sources produce a substantial portion of the state's total annual emissions of greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. The Mobile Sources Program of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) controls air pollution from motor vehicles through a variety of programs and activities. These programs and activities support the states commitment to reducing air pollution, protecting our health and improving the environment.



Motor Vehicle Inspection & Maintenance (I/M) Program: the DEM and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are jointly responsible for the administration of the Rhode Island I/M Program. DMV is responsible for the operation and enforcement of the program and DEM is responsible for the environmental aspects of the program.

The Rhode Island I/M Program requires a biennial inspection that includes all light-duty vehicles, 25 years old and newer, up to 8,500 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rate (GVWR).

RIDEM assures that the State's motor vehicle I/M program identifies high emitting vehicles and gets them repaired. Visit and for Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 34 for more information.

  • The purpose of the program is to reduce motor vehicle related pollution through inspection and emissions-related repair of gasoline and diesel powered light duty motor vehicles.
  • The program ensures that RI is positioned to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone, reduces the amount of particulate matter emitted into the air, and protects human health and the environment.

Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) Program: requires manufacturers to meet fleet-average emissions targets through the sale of vehicles that emit low levels of pollutants that contribute to ozone formation such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), and other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter that pose risks to public health.

  • The purpose of the program is to ensure that motor vehicle standards in Rhode Island are consistent with California's Advanced Clean Cars Program (ACCP).
  • Rhode Island incorporated ACCP's rules under its Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 37.

Light Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards: A national program that applies to passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles, covering model years 2012 through 2025.

  • The purpose of the program is to improve fuel economy of vehicles, ultimately leading to reduced levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV): require manufacturers to meet a certain portion of sales with electric, plug-in hybrid-electric, and fuel cell (hydrogen) vehicles.


State Fleet - Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Acquisition Requirements: requires the State of Rhode Island to purchase vehicles that provide the best value on a lifecycle cost basis. Visit Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Acquisition Requirements to see what actions the state is taking. Here you can also find the link to the Executive Order.

  • The purpose of this program is for the state to be the leader and take action to reduce fuel consumption and pollution emissions from state fleet vehicles.

"Roadside & Periodic Emissions Inspections: test heavy-duty trucks and buses with GVWR over 14,000 pounds for excessive smoke and tampering. Any heavy-duty vehicle operating in Rhode Island, including vehicles registered in other states and foreign countries may be tested.

  • The purpose of the program is to identify diesel vehicles with excessive smoke emissions, as these emissions are an indicator of poor vehicle maintenance and contribute to air pollution.
  • State and local police conduct roadside checks throughout the state, to enforce motorist compliance with the HD emissions standards.
  • DMV and DEM have plans to institute a periodic HD I/M program to require compliance with emission standards.
  • The I/M program will ensure that all vehicles operating in Rhode Island meet reasonable standards of maintenance and help protect the air we all breathe.

Clean Construction - State Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Program (State DERA): requires the use of cleaner equipment at construction sites of state or federal funded projects over $5,000,000. Construction equipment owners can replace engines and/or exhaust controls on older construction equipment.

  • The purpose of this program is to limit particulate matter (PM) pollution from diesel powered construction equipment.
  • The program ensures that all heavy-duty vehicles and generators to be powered by well-maintained engines bearing Level 3 controls. If the DEM determines these Level 3 emission-control devices are inappropriate for a certain job, the requirement can go down to Level 2 (and then Level 1) as necessary.
  • Consult the Rhode Island General Laws 31-47.3-5 for complete details.

Clean Diesel School Bus Retrofit Program: requires that all full-size school buses older than Model Year (MY) 1994 be removed from service; and buses older than MY 2007 be retrofitted with emissions control devices.

  • The purpose of the program is to reduce toxic exposures by removing older buses from fleets, and retrofitting school buses with proven emissions reduction technologies (including diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems).

RI Clean Diesel Fund: During 2017 the Department accepted applications for truck replacements under the Clean Diesel Fund. The purpose of the fund was to provide reimbursement grants to companies for the purpose of reducing emissions from heavy duty diesel vehicles operating on Rhode Island roads. Roughly $252,000 was used to replace four trucks. The Department is currently within the five year data collecting part of the fund. No applications are being accepted at this time. Please see see the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program for information on other heavy duty diesel opportunities.

Diesel Idle Reduction Requirement: diesel motor vehicles may not idle unnecessarily for longer than five consecutive minutes during any 60-minute period. This includes heavy-duty diesel vehicles used to perform any state public works contracts. Unnecessary idling does not include circumstances exempted by law and regulations the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has adopted, such as when it is necessary to operate heating and cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of drivers and passengers. Other vehicles exempt from these requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) emergency response, public safety, or military vehicles; 2) armored vehicles being loaded or unloaded; 3) non-road vehicles; and 4) vehicles making deliveries of fuel or energy products. Violators of these regulations can be fined up to $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for each succeeding offense. (Reference Rhode Island General Laws 23-23-29.2 and 31-16.1)

  • The purpose of this requirement is to prevent unnecessary idling, conserve fuel, and reduce exposures to toxic vehicle exhaust.
  • Rhode Island incorporated this under its Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 45.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) & Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program: ARRA dedicated funds to the DERA Program. These funds were allocated to states for clean diesel projects that maximized job creation and preservation through the installation of verified retrofit technologies, engine and vehicle replacements and upgrades, and idle reduction technologies. Learn more about the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program



Clean Fuel Standards (CFS)/Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS): The program is currently being evaluated by 11 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States to require fuel providers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity of their products over time by mixing low carbon fuels into their supply or by buying credits. CFS would allow fuel suppliers the flexibility to choose how they meet emissions targets through various means, such as blending biofuels into gasoline, reducing emissions in the production process, or purchasing credits from utilities supplying low carbon electricity to electric vehicles.

  • The transition to lower carbon fuels could provide important energy security, climate change, and economic benefits in the region. It could also result in the reduction of greenhouse gases released, reduction in pollutants such as fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.

Electric Vehicle Deployment - ZEV MOU and Multi-State Action Plan: In June 2014, the states released a collaborative Action Plan to develop infrastructure, coordinate policies, codes and standards and a consumer market primed to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The governors of eight states (California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont) began this latest collaboration with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on October 24, 2013.

Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI): a multi-state effort amongst the transportation, energy and environmental state agencies in 11 Mid-Atlantic and Northeast States and the District of Columbia. Working collaboratively to expand safe and reliable transportation options, attract federal investment, lower transportation costs, improve overall air quality and public health, and mitigate the transportation sector's impact on climate change.

Rhode Island is working to combat climate change on many fronts, and that includes promoting and tracking the use of clean cars. Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by electricity, which as an energy source is cleaner than gas. They produce less pollution than a conventional gas-powered vehicle. Reduced harmful tail-pipe pollutants is good news for our health; better air quality will lead to fewer health problems and costs caused by air pollution. For a snapshot of how RI is making progress deploying clean cars on its roads, visit the RI climate change dashboard.

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