Public hearing set for Sept. 18 on changes to auto emissions testing program


RALEIGH – Newer cars and light-duty trucks would no longer need emissions tests under proposed rules that are the subject of a Sept. 18 public hearing in Raleigh.

Under the proposal, motor vehicles would be exempt from required emissions tests during their first three model years if they have less than 70,000 miles on their odometers. Cars and trucks are already exempt from tests during their first model year.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality has scheduled the hearing for 6 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Training Room (Room 1210) in the Green Square building, 217 West Jones St., Raleigh. Directions and parking information can be found at Quality/about/Directions_to_Green_Square.pdf .

The Division of Air Quality will accept written comments on the rules through Oct. 14. Written comments may be submitted at the hearing, emailed to or mailed to: Joelle Burleson, Division of Air Quality, 1641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1641.

The General Assembly passed legislation calling for the changes in the emissions testing program during its 2012 session, but the state Environmental Management Commission must adopt rules to carry out the changes. The commission is expected to consider the proposal as soon as its November meeting. The changes also need approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, so the exemption is not expected to take effect until early 2014.

Although cars and trucks are collectively the largest source of air pollution in North Carolina, a joint study conducted for the legislature by the state divisions of Air Quality and Motor Vehicles revealed that the emissions controls on newer cars seldom experienced failures. The study concluded that exempting vehicles from emissions tests in the first three model years could save consumers money with negligible effects on air quality. A more recent Division of Air Quality analysis has demonstrated that the exemption would not interfere with the attainment or maintenance of air quality standards in North Carolina.

More information on proposed rules can be found at . Information about other air quality issues can be found at the Division of Air Quality’s website, .

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