Proposal would allow newer cars to skip Pa. emissions tests

    A proposal in the Pennsylvania Senate would exempt cars up to 10 years old from yearly air emissions standards testing required in many counties, including those in the Philadelphia region.

    A bill from Sen. Elder Vogel would allow newer cars and electric, hybrid, or natural gas-powered vehicles to skip yearly emissions tests.

    “We’ve done so much better with our air quality in the state of Pennsylvania since this was introduced back in the early ’90s,” said Vogel, R-Beaver. “I think this can be eliminated at this time. We’ll still be able to meet our obligations for our clean air standards and be able to save consumers a lot of money.”

    Vogel points out that fewer than 1 percent of the cars manufactured since Pennsylvania adopted California emissions standards fail the test. The test cost drivers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

    George Jugovic, president of the statewide environmental group Penn Future, said he would like to see data on how much pollution the failing cars produce before taking a stance on the proposal.

    “When you add all those vehicles up over a 10-year period of time that are failing, and you don’t’ know how much they’re failing by, you don’t know how many pollutants they’re adding to the air over that period of time,” Jugovic said. “It’d be useful to know that to understand the real impact of the legislation.”

    The bill passed out of committee last week, and it now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

    The state would have to submit any proposed changes to the emissions testing program to the federal government for approval to ensure those changes are in line with Clean Air Act pollution management strategies.

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