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House lawmakers approve legislation to end mandatory emissions testing

Staff Reports • Updated Apr 21, 2018 at 8:00 AM

State House lawmakers this week passed legislation that would end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles in Tennessee. 

As passed, the bill would apply to residents of Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties where vehicle emission testing is required prior to vehicle registration or renewal.

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act required the state to develop more restrictive regulations to control air pollution in counties that didn’t meet the federal standards for air quality. 

Currently, testing is done on 1975-model and newer vehicles if they are powered by a gasoline or diesel engine and weigh up to 10,500 pounds. More than 1.5 million vehicles went through emissions testing in Tennessee last year in the six counties where it is required.

“Supporters agree that vehicle emissions testing is a perfect example of a well-intentioned government program with harmful, unintended consequences for Tennessee's middle class,” said state Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon. “The passage of this legislation will help relieve this burdensome regulation for Tennessee citizens.” 

The idea for the bill resulted from conversations with Tennesseans who voiced concerns about the costs of testing on families across the state. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation released a report last August that said all 95 Tennessee counties met federal air quality health standards, and the bill was a result of the report.

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