Driving Force - April 2007 Issue (PREVIEW)
California Proposes ANNUAL Emissions Tests for
Vehicles 15-Years Old and Older
Pre-1976 Vehicles Would Continue to be Exempt From Smog Check
Enthusiasts in California are rallying against legislation that has been introduced in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Dave Jones to require annual Smog check inspections for vehicles 15-years old and older. In addition, the bill would direct funds generated through the additional inspection fees to be deposited into an account which can be used to scrap older cars. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee for consideration.
The measure represents another attempt by California legislators and regulators to scapegoat older cars for air quality deficiencies. In 2004, despite objections from the vehicle hobby community, California repealed its rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replaced it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles.
“Under this year’s bill, pre-1976 vehicles would continue to be exempt from Smog Check”, said Steve McDonald, SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs. “However, vehicles 15 years old and older - currently 1976 through 1992 - that are not currently exempt would move from a biennial test to annual tests with the clear intent of moving them into the scrappage program.”
Sponsors of the legislation ignore the fact that vehicles 15-years old and older still constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction. Legislators are also ignoring the fact that classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven.
“Implementing an annual test would not only increase the cost to the vehicle owner, it would also give the state more opportunities to lure these vehicles into retirement,” added McDonald.
Recently, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District released an updated smog plan that calls for scrapping 30,000 passenger cars, five times the number previously planned. Scrappage programs, widely rejected by other states as an ineffective means of cleaning the air, accelerate the normal demise of vehicles through the purchase of older cars which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal.
“By virtue of these scrappage programs, the vehicle hobby risks the loss of potential collector cars and parts forever that could have been used in a project,” commented SAN Director Jason Tolleson.