This week's 'Ask Evan' question comes from John M. John asks, "Why aren't annual emissions inspections required in all of Pennsylvania and not just a few counties?"
In 1990 Congress set the requirement for an enhanced emissions testing program as part of the Federal Clean Air Act Amendment. Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, there are currently 25 counties that require an emissions inspection program for vehicles model year 1975 and newer. Those are based on air quality needs and population densities.
In our area that includes Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties. Vehicles registered in the other 42 counties are not required to pass an emissions inspection.
However, there is legislation afoot that would change much of that. The State Senate recently passed a bill that would lift the requirement for annual emission inspections, which cost about $40 on average, on vehicles up to eight years after the vehicle was manufactured. In the 25 counties where these annual inspections are required, including our area, found that less than 2 percent of vehicles that are 8 years old or newer failed their emissions test. That's why some lawmakers say the requirement is no longer needed. Cars older than 8 years would still have to be tested, but that would happen every two years instead of annually.
The bills also changes some of the counties that would still require testing. However, but that doesn't have an effect on south central Pennsylvania. Those bills will now be considered by the Pennsylvania Statehouse.
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