A Democratic state lawmaker wants the federal government to reconsider the requirement for vehicle emissions inspections in Pennsylvania. State Senator John Wozniak (D-Cambria, Somerset Counties) is sponsoring a resolution calling on Congress to reevaluate the enhanced emissions inspection program.
"Today's cars are cleaner and annual emission testing isn't as effective," Wozniak said. "Virtually all cars pass the test and it's time to reevaluate whether it's just a waste of money for consumers."
In 1990 Congress amended the Clean Air Act to include a centralized emissions testing program, but drivers and industry balked at the program and the state adopted a decentralized "customer-focused" program with enhanced emissions testing in nine counties in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia regions in 1997. That was expanded to 25 counties within 7 years as a result of a lawsuit filed by the environmental group, PennFuture.
Wozniak says with a 95 percent compliance rate the emissions test should no longer be required.
"The cars the public have now are technologically advanced. The necessity for this isn't there anymore, and I'd like [the federal government] to take it away," Wozniak said. "It's a charge, a cost, that the public doesn't need."
The cost of an emissions test can be $30 or more, pass or fail.
The senator said the federal government needs to evaluate whether the people who made the right choice to upgrade their vehicles "are being punished" by an unnecessary test.
"You could be driving a Prius in Cambria County and you have to pay for the test," Wozniak said. "But if you drive an old pick-up in Indiana County, you're exempt."
Wozniak is hoping his colleagues in the Senate and the House will approve his resolution and urge Congress to consider eliminating the emissions test.