HARRISBURG, PA - Annual emissions testing for newer vehicles in Pennsylvania would be eliminated under a proposed measure that while OK’d by the state Senate now faces a rough road of opposition.
By a 29-20 vote, the Senate approved Bill 777 which would exempt certain newer vehicles from having to undergo the testing as part of the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program. The test costs about $40 per vehicle.
Under the measure, vehicles five years old or younger would be exempt from the testing, and the new law also would apply to the 25 of 67 state counties where emissions tests currently are required for registered vehicle owners. The bill says that a one-time emissions exemption sticker would need to be applied to the windshield of those newer vehicles that would qualify for the exemption.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Warne Langerholc (R-Bedford County) who called the testing “outdated,” was sent to the House Transportation Committee. To become law, the measure must now pass the House and be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, who already has indicated opposition to it.
Proponents say newer vehicles are better designed and more fuel efficient, and the emissions testing unnecessary. Some 99 percent of vhicles pass the test anyway, they argue.
“A vehicle emissions test has become less effective at reducing air pollution, particularly due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles entering the fleet,” Langerholc wrote in a memo to colleagues before the vote.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA), however, has lobbied against it and
said that if the bill becomes law it will lessen the state’s air quality and harm the 7,000 emissions stations in the state, many of which are small, independent businesses that provide jobs.
“The proposed changes not only put the health, safety and welfare of all Commonwealth residents at risk but likewise jeopardizes hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds for violating federal law,” said Ross Colket, president, ASA.