Protecting Our Environment: 5 Questions and Answers About Testing Your Car’s Emissions

Posted on 17 April 2019 by Tony Santos

Emission Testing

In February 2019, Ford became the latest car manufacturer embroiled in an emissions testing controversy. The auto giant announced it would be launching a probe into its emissions testing procedures after employees raised several concerns. Ford has hired an outside company to look into its practices.

Vehicle emissions testing was thrust under the international spotlight in 2015 when Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer, was at the center of an emissions scandal. The carmaker had planted software within its diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested. When tested, the engines altered their performance to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

But emissions testing is not solely the manufacturer’s responsibility. To improve air quality, many states across the United States have legislation in place that requires vehicle owners to have their vehicle emissions tested periodically to identify vehicles with high carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. These are 5 answers to common questions about testing your car’s emissions.

Does my vehicle need testing?

Under the Gateway vehicle inspection program, any gas vehicle that was built after 1996, or diesel vehicle built after 1997, weighing less than 8,500 pounds needs to undergo regular emissions tests.

There are exemptions in place for vehicles that are two years old with less than 40,000 miles on the odometer. If the vehicle is older than four years old and has done less than 12,000 miles in the last two years it is also exempt from testing.

Plug-in, hybrid and electric vehicles are also exempt, as are motorcycles, scooters, government vehicles, school buses, historic vehicles (over 25-years-old) and specially constructed or kit vehicles. If you have any questions about vehicle exemptions, the individual state can provide further information.

How often does my car need testing?

Your car needs to have its emissions tested when your license plates needs renewing. Odd vehicle model years are testing on odd years, and even vehicle model years are tested on even years. You will need to show evidence that you had your vehicle emissions tested within the last 60 days when you try to renew your registration.

What are the penalties for not testing?

If you don’t get your vehicle emissions tested, you will not be able to renew the registration, you will not receive new stickers and your vehicle will be deemed off-road.

Will I be notified that my vehicle needs testing?

Yes, the state sends out notifications 60 days before your license plate renewal is due. This gives you plenty of time to organize for an emissions test and head to your nearest test location.

Do I have to take my vehicle in for its emission test?

The vehicle owner does not have to be present when the vehicle receives its test. Any licensed motorist can take the car in for testing at a recognized testing station.

Avoid having an unregistered vehicle by adequately preparing for you license expiration and organizing an emissions test. Contact your local tester today to arrange your emission test and stay on top of your legal responsibilities as a car owner.

Categorized | Car News, Car Tips

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