No Emissions Testing for Pre-1981 Vehicles Proposed in California

There is one thing that virtually all automotive enthusiasts hate, and that is strict emissions inspection requirements. While there are some states that have more lenient rules and some counties that don’t even have emission testing, California’s emissions standards in general are the epitome of a performance car owner’s nightmare. However, as we found out from the SEMA Action Network, more cars could be exempt from California’s strict emissions standards soon if newly drafted legislation is passed. Don’t rejoice yet, but all your pre-1981 vehicles might never have to be tested for compliance of emissions standards again.

If you’ve lived in California for some time now, you may remember when the state had a rolling emissions-test exemption for all vehicles that were 30 years old or older. Unfortunately, this exemption was replaced by a law in 2004 requiring life-long emissions tests for all post-1975 vehicles.

While all 1976 and newer California vehicles (except vehicles 6 years old and newer) have to pass emissions currently to be able to be eligible for registration, this could soon change thanks to a bill introduced to the California Senate.

Proposed by Senator Doug LaMalfa, the new bill recognizes that not only are few pre-1981 vehicles owned compared to the number of cars on the road, but also that they have minimal impact on emissions. Senate Bill 1224 also endorses that the overwhelming majority of pre-1981 vehicles still driven are well maintained and driven less often, as well as shorter distances, than newer model years.

Senate Bill (S.B.) 1224 aims to bring pre-1981 vehicle owners some relief as their vehicles are a poor source for emissions reductions. With as few 1976 to 1980 model-year vehicles as there are compared to all the vehicles on the road, S.B. 1224 argues that exempting these five model years is not going to make a big enough impact on emissions to continue justifying the current post-1975 regulations.

Obviously having this bill passed is a big deal for California automotive enthusiasts and would mean fewer old cars are punished for emissions they barely contribute to.

The bill will be reviewed in the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee come March 27th. To make your support known for S.B. 1224, you can contact members of the Senate Transport and Housing Committee with contact information provided on the SEMA Action Network’s alert page.

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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