Explaining Alternative Fuel and Energy Efficient license plates

*** 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.

*** UPDATE (5/20/2014) *** The program requirements for qualifying vehicles have changed.

Qualifying vehicles will be limited to include only plug-in hybrid electric vehicles according to the certification list established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is responsible for issuing the rules that establish the certification and labeling requirements for low emission and energy-efficient vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles 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 normal 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. Please see this news release for additional information on qualifying vehicles.


Ever since we blogged about alternative fuel and energy efficient license plates more than a year ago, we have received many questions asking for even more clarification...

And that’s exactly what we aim to deliver to you today with our newest infographic. We’ve taken the most frequently asked questions on this subject and provided all the answers in one convenient spot!

For additional information on alternative fuel and energy efficient license plates (along with all the other plates Arizona has to offer) visit the MVD website for more details.

Alternative Fuel FAQ Infographic

Alternative Fuel FAQs

Q. Are there differences between the Alternative Fuel and Energy Efficient license plates?

A. Yes. While they look very similar to each other, the two plates (and the types of cars that can display them) are different. Alternative Fuel "blue cloud" plates begin with AF and owners pay a reduced Vehicle License Tax. Energy Efficient plates also sport the "blue cloud" design, but they come with a Hybrid logo and contain the letters "L" and "N".

Q. Who can drive in the HOV lane?

A. Per state law, vehicles carrying two or more people have the ability to use the HOV lanes during posted restricted time periods in morning and evening rush hours. In addition thee are other vehicles authorized to utilize HOV lanes, such as buses, motorcycles, emergency response vehicles and vehicles bearing either an Alternative Fuel license plate or an Energy Efficient license plate. Violating the restrictions for HOV lane usage may result in a driver receiving a traffic citation with a fine starting at $350.

Q. Who is eligible to register for an Alternative Fuel license plate?

A. Alternative Fuel license plates are available for vehicles powered ONLY by alternative fuel. For a vehicle to be eligible for an alternative fuel License plate, it must be powered exclusively by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, propane) natural gas (CNG/LNG), a blend of 70 percent alternative fuel and 30 percent petroleum based fuel, hydrogen, solar or electric (excluding golf carts). There is NO LIMIT to the number of alternative fuel vehicles that can be issued the Alternative Fuel license plate.

Q. If I convert my vehicle to run on an accepted alternative fuel, will I be eligible for an Alternative Fuel license plate?

A. Yes. You would need that vehicle to be inspected by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to obtain an alternative fuel certificate. After that, you can register your vehicle for an Alternative Fuel plate.

Q.Who can obtain an Energy Efficient license plate?

A. Energy Efficient license plates were made available as part of a federally approved program that launched in 2007. The plates were limited to three eligible vehicles (Toyota, Prius, Honda Civic and Honda Insight). The Energy Efficient Pilot program has a maximum capacity of 10,000 vehicles - that number was reached in 2008. In 2011, approximately 2,500 vehicles had dropped out of the program. ADOT reopened the program and re-issued the 2,500 plates in less than 15 days. The Energy Efficient Pilot Program is currently at capacity. No more energy efficient plates are being issued at this time.

Q. I heard a rumor that more Energy Efficient license plates will soon be released for hybrid vehicles. Is this true?

A. At this time, ADOT has NOT reopened the Energy Efficient Pilot program and there is no set schedule for another reissue.

Q. If more Energy Efficient license plates are ever released, will I be able to get one?

A. You would be eligible for a plate at the next offering if you have a qualified car that is currently registered. At this time the federal government has included three cars in the program: the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Honda Insight.

Q. How will I know if more Energy Efficient license plates have been released? Is there a list I can get on so that I can be notified right away?

A. Announcements will be made in the media and we'll certainly let you know about it through our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. We do not maintain any sort of a waiting list for these plates, but we will make sure the public is made aware if there is a reissue of the Energy Efficient license plates.

Q. Can I transfer my Energy Efficient license plate to someone else?

A. No, you cannot transfer your Energy Efficient license plate to someone else. However, the owner of a vehicle enrolled in the Energy Efficient pilot program can transfer their Energy Efficient plate to another qualifying replacement vehicle that they obtain.