Washington, D.C. - In a victory for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and Washington state vehicle enthusiasts, Governor Gary Locke signed into law air pollution control legislation (H.B. 1354) that will exempt older vehicles from emission inspections.
Under the new law, all vehicles more than 25 years old will be exempted from the state's emissions test requirement beginning Jan. 1, 2000, and 30-year-old collector cars will be exempted this year. The bill is similar to legislation enacted last year in California that also exempted older cars. Working hand-in-hand with the Washington Car Club Council (WCCC), SEMA undertook an intensive statewide campaign to involve car clubs, enthusiasts and others in pushing for the bill's approval.
"We are pleased that we were able to convince the legislature and Governor Locke of the inefficiency and needless inconvenience of inspecting older vehicles," said SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald. "H.B. 1354 represents relief for vehicle enthusiasts throughout the state of Washington." SEMA has consistently supported state legislative actions that acknowledge the relatively minimal impact of older vehicles on vehicle emissions and air quality. Such vehicles constitute a small portion of the vehicle fleet and are generally well maintained and infrequently operated. Often, state emissions test requirements are excessive in view of these vehicles' number and operating characteristics.
SEMA VP, Government Affairs Chris Kersting commented, "The idea behind exempting any class of vehicles is to reduce costs while not losing appreciable emissions reductions. This strategy builds support for emission-inspection programs, while directing finite resources where they will do the most good at the lowest cost. As a side effect, these exemptions also allow vehicle hobbyists to enjoy their older vehicles without fear of unfair treatment at smog checks."