Government officials across the world have declared a ‘war on pollution’ over the last decade. With much of the population on the road every day, the air quality in the biggest U.S. cities is hurting. With consistent pollution warnings across cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, political officials and citizens alike support automotive regulations.
Though skeptics say these laws don’t do enough to combat the thick haze that blankets the sky, cities across the country are continuing with emissions testing to combat car exhaust pollution. But what exactly does this mean for drivers? How is it helping our already polluted cities, and how do we get our emissions tested?Cities across the country are continuing with emissions testing to combat car exhaust pollution. Click To Tweet
In 1970, amid growing concern about environmental pollution, the EPA was established in order to consolidate federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities relating to environmental protection into a one agency. Part of the EPA’s job is to enforce the Clean Air Act of 1963, which was the first major environmental law in the United States to include a provision for citizen suits. The act mandated air quality control regions and designated them as attainment vs. non-attainment, where non-attainment meant an area did not meet national air quality standards. As a result, environmental standards and required vehicle certifications vary from state to state. Sometimes called a smog check, smog test, or an emissions test, the main goal is to test the vehicle and engine’s emissions. These programs are an important part in the effort to improve the air we breathe.
Not sure if your state requires vehicle emissions testing? Here are the states that require you to have your vehicle tested. Be sure to check for any exemptions if your state is on the list.
Each state possesses its own unique standards and processes for emissions testing. There are multiple states where these regulations apply only to the most densely populated urban areas. Missouri, for example, only requires emissions inspections for those living in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. This pattern of exemption also pertains to certain vehicle classes. Antique vehicles are not required to pass an emissions test, as they were built before cleaner, more efficient engines were made. Most new vehicles are also exempt from testing, as manufacturers are now inherently required to meet current standards before pushing out a new model.
Be sure to check with your state’s emissions testing facilities if you’ve moved recently to ensure your vehicle is ready for inspection.
The list below is subject to change at any time. Emissions regulations shift frequently. The best source for information regarding your specific testing requirements will be from your state’s DMV or DOT website.
Note that not all states offer exemptions or waivers, but for those that do, some trucks, antique vehicles, and hybrid vehicles may be exempt. Check with your local emissions testing organization to learn more.
If you live in a state that requires an emissions test and fail to meet the requirements, you won’t be able to register your vehicle. This means you’re not allowed to drive until the you fix the issues discovered by the emissions test. Upon failure, you will receive a report from the inspection station detailing all repairs that are required. Hold onto this report and provide it to your mechanic to ensure everything that needs fixing is fixed. Once your vehicle has been repaired, bring it back to an inspection station to test again. Take care of this as soon as possible to avoid letting your license plates expire during this time.
Should your vehicle fail the test again, you may be eligible for a waiver. This is dependent upon the rules of your state, so be sure to research what the relevant guidelines are for your specific location.
Here are some ways to help keep your vehicle within emissions standards:
What do you think about emissions testing? Leave us a comment below to share your tips for passing an emissions test!
It’s good to know that changing the engine oil regularly and replacing fuel filters can help keep your car within emissions standards. I can’t afford an electric car at the moment, but I want to keep my carbon footprint as low as I can. I will be sure to get my car serviced with emissions testing on a regular basis so I contribute as little to air pollution as possible.