North Carolina Renewable Fuels Policies

The state of North Carolina has implemented legislation this year in support of E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). This legislation includes bills that will be implemented on January 1, 2006, and three bills that are pending approval.

The first budget provision, approved on August 13, 2005, indicates that state fleets shall develop and implement plans to improve the use of alternative fuels, synthetic lubricants, and efficient vehicles. This budget provision states that North Carolina should put plans into place that will decrease the state fleets petroleum use by 20 percent by the year 2010. Reductions should be met with the use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, synthetic oils or lubricants, other alternative fuels, the use of hybrid electric vehicles, other fuel-efficient or low-emission vehicles, or additional methods that are approved by the State Energy Office to reduce harmful emissions. All state agencies, universities and community colleges that operate a fleet of more than ten state-owned motor vehicles are required to comply with the new requirement. Agencies must report to the Department of Administration by September 1, 2006, and annually on September 1 every year thereafter. Bill S1149 that creates an energy credit banking and selling program fund will enable the State Energy Office to generate funds for use of alternative fuel and other projects from excess credits obtained from the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 requires the state to purchase alternative fuel vehicles. Credits earned by exceeding EPAct can be sold to different U.S. entities for a cash value of $750 – $1,200. S1149 also extends the 33 percent tax credit for renewable energy property and equipment until 2011. A renewable fuels motor fuels tax exemption has been proposed in the North Carolina legislation with S1150/H1296. This bill removes the state motor fuel tax of $0.27 per gallon of the blended ethanol portion in the fuel. A second proposed bill in the state, S1038/H1595, addresses a mobile source emission reduction program. This bill proposes to generate funds to provide for alternative fuel projects through a surcharge added to the annual motor vehicle registration fee based on the vehicle’s emission rating and fuel economy. A third and final proposed bill in the state of North Carolina is S1015/H1766. This bill will provide a tax credit to businesses that purchase alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids.

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