Effort to Exempt Pre-1981 Vehicles From California’s Emissions Inspection Requirement Dropped for the Year

Legislation (S.B. 1224) to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the ’81 model year from the emissions inspection requirement will not be reconsidered by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee after failing its initial vote. According to bill sponsor Senator Doug LaMalfa, “Although the bill was granted reconsideration, the opponents contend the exemption is intended as a means of ignoring the effects of pollution caused by older, high-emissions vehicles rather than a legitimate benefit for classic car collectors whose vehicles are rarely driven. My efforts to convince my colleagues of the merits of the bill have been unsuccessful and, therefore, the bill has been dropped for this year and, of course, I am very disappointed.”  

In 2004, legislation was enacted to repeal California’s rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replace it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all ’76 and newer model-year vehicles. S.B. 1224 acknowledged that pre-’81 vehicles constitute a small and shrinking portion of the overall vehicle population, are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction, and are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven (a fraction of the miles each year as a new vehicle). 

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