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newsrel -- Quick and easy Smog Checks coming to California

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 14:17:52
Smog Check program improvements to offer simpler inspections that
lower costs and increase accuracy 
. Please consider the following news release from the California
Air Resources Board

October 18, 2012

John Swanton

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board today reviewed plans for
implementing a new Smog Check program that eliminates tailpipe
testing for 2000 model-year and newer vehicles and improves the
quality of inspections for older vehicles. Authorized by AB 2289
(Eng, 2010), the new test takes advantage of the advanced
monitoring On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems that are standard
equipment on all newer vehicles. 

Instead of measuring tailpipe emissions while simulating driving
conditions in a shop, the new test will review OBD data collected
during actual operation to identify vehicles with high emissions.

“By utilizing the On-Board Diagnostic system already built into
all newer cars, owners can be assured that they are getting the
most accurate measure of their vehicles condition at the lowest
possible cost,” said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “The move away
from tailpipe testing and the expensive equipment required by
shops will benefit consumers, service providers and the

Older vehicles will continue to be inspected using tailpipe
emissions but stations will be subject to new performance and
evaluation standards.  Only stations meeting the tough new
standards will be rated as “STAR Certified” and permitted to
inspect 1999 and older vehicles. The changeover to the new
testing requirements will take place over the next year:

Starting January 1, 2013:  
• All 1999 model-year and older vehicles (the model years most
likely to have high emissions) will be directed to new STAR
inspection stations.

September 1, 2013:
•All 2000 model-year and newer vehicles will be inspected using
the OBD-based test.

As part of the report on the new Smog Check program, the Board
also reviewed the effectiveness of the state’s voluntary vehicle
retirement programs. These programs, administered by the Bureau
of Automotive Repairs and local air pollution control districts,
provide financial incentives to scrap older vehicles and vehicles
that require costly repairs. Over the past two fiscal years,
these programs have resulted in the retirement of over 82,000
high emitting vehicles. Retiring older vehicles is an important
tool in California’s air quality efforts as 

vehicles that are over 20 years old account for only 6% of all
miles traveled but are responsible for over 40% of daily smog
forming emissions. Board staff found that the significant air
quality benefits can be achieved by increased retirements and
program improvements.

For more information regarding vehicle retirement and other Smog
Check news, please visit the California Bureau of Automotive
Repairs online at: 

ARB What's New