Energy Efficient Plate FAQs

Energy Efficient License Plate

License plate for Energy Efficient vehicles

*** UPDATE (5/6/15) *** The availability of energy-efficient license plates for owners of qualified vehicles has ended as the maximum number of plate applications has been reached.

Please see our recent blog post for the latest.

Over the years, we’ve received several blog comments related to the “Blue Skies” Energy Efficient license plates and, just when we thought we had answered practically every question possible (with the help of our experts in MVD, of course), the program changed.

Back in May, it was announced that owners of certain plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would have the opportunity to obtain a “Blue Skies” Energy Efficient license plate. This was a switch from the previous pilot program that had allowed the plates to go to owners of any model year Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid or Honda Insight.

It has been about two months since the shift and we thought now would be a good time to revisit the topic by sharing some of the questions (and answers) we’ve received lately.

But first, let us tell you that the list of plug-in hybrid vehicles approved by the EPA was recently updated. See the full list on our MVD Web page. You can also check to see if your vehicle qualifies by entering your VIN on ServiceArizona.

Now, on to the Frequently Asked Questions…

Q) How many of the 1,800 plates are still available?

A) You can check our “Plates Issued” box on the MVD website to see how many of the available Energy Efficient license plates have been issued. The count is updated each Monday. As of July 27, MVD has issued 561 plates.

Q) Do 100-percent electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, qualify for the Energy Efficient plate?

A) Vehicles powered solely by electricity are eligible for the Alternative Fuel license plate. There’s no limit on the number of Alternative Fuel plates ADOT issues (the Energy Efficient plate has a 10,000 cap). You can find more information on our website.

Q) Will the Energy Efficient plates allow me to travel in the HOV lanes in other states?

A) No, Arizona's Energy Efficient and Alternative Fuel plates only allow unrestricted HOV lane access in Arizona. You'll need to check with other states to learn their HOV lane rules.

Q) How long will my non plug-in Prius be able to display its HOV plate since it is no longer on the list of certified vehicles for the program?

A) Drivers with a vehicle that qualified under the previous program (Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight and non-plug-in Toyota Prius) and is currently registered with an Energy Efficient plate will be allowed to continue to use their plate on that vehicle and drive in the HOV lane until they sell/transfer the vehicle. The Energy Efficient plate may only be transferred to a qualifying plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that is owned or leased by the same registered owner.

Q) Why were these vehicles chosen for the program?

A) The Arizona Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the EPA and Federal Highways Administration, has transitioned the previous Energy Efficient Pilot Program to a new Energy Efficient Vehicle program limited to the most energy efficient hybrid technology currently available. These “next generation” of hybrids – the plug-ins – may be driven for a longer period of time on solely electric power, reducing both the amount of fuel consumed and tailpipe emissions released compared to other hybrid vehicles. Reduced vehicle pollution supports the purpose of the “Clean Air – Blue Skies” program by encouraging the use of low-emission vehicles to improve the air quality in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

For more on the Energy Efficient Plate Program, please visit our MVD Web page.