Wozniak: Ending Costly Emissions Mandate Passes First Test

HARRISBURG, June 18, 2012 – A bill that would exempt new cars from emissions inspections for 10 years cleared the Transportation Committee today, state Sen. John N. Wozniak announced.

Senate Bill 1532 also exempts hybrid and electric cars from emissions inspections.

“It’s time to update our automobile mandates to reflect reality,” said Wozniak, a co-sponsor of the bill. “When emissions inspections were enacted, there were still a lot of old, polluting cars on the road. Today, nearly all cars pass the emissions test and drivers have to pay up to $50 to be told what they already know.”

Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania first required enhanced vehicle emissions testing a handful of counties in 1997. Over time, the mandate spread to cars registered in 25 counties.

EPA approval would be necessary for Pennsylvania to amend its emissions inspection program, but Wozniak said the agency has been flexible given the technology in modern cars.

“Other states have waived emissions inspections for new cars up to a certain age, saving taxpayers a small fortune,” he said. “Pennsylvania’s new car owners have already paid dearly for that new car technology, they shouldn’t have to pay for a redundant test.”

Not counting broken or poorly installed gas caps, nearly 98 percent of cars pass the emissions test, according to PennDOT, which oversees the testing of approximately one million cars every year.

Wozniak, who sponsored a successful Senate Resolution in April calling for an end to emissions testing, estimated that the bill would exempt more than half the cars registered in Pennsylvania, saving drivers an estimated $25 to $30 million.

Pennsylvania first required enhanced vehicle emissions testing a handful of counties in 1997. Over time, the mandate spread to cars registered in 25 counties.

Wozniak’s resolution asks the U.S. Congress to reevaluate the enhanced emissions inspection program. Emission testing is required in the following counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York.