State seeks input to streamline vehicle emissions tests

March 15, 2011

By Staff

The state Department of Ecology seeks comments on a proposal to streamline the state’s motor vehicle emissions testing program.

The agency requires emissions tests in King County and four other populous counties to limit air pollution near population centers.

Officials propose to adopt a rule detailing how the program operates, starting in July 2012. The current rule is to remain in effect until then.

The state is accepting public comments on the proposal through March 31 and expects to adopt changes June 23. The agency has also scheduled a public hearing March 22 in Federal Way.

The updated rule also aims to eliminate some testing procedures and other requirements. Other proposed changes include:

  • Making the rule easier to understand.
  • Having all testing done by authorized testers using the state contractor’s computer system.
  • Eliminating the gas cap test and dynamometer testing.
  • Using the same test standards for all model year 1995 and older gasoline vehicles.
  • Exempting light-duty diesel vehicles from testing.
  • Tightening the test standards for heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
  • Exempting heavy-duty diesel vehicles if the engines meet 2007 emission standards or come equipped with exhaust particle filters.

Legislators directed the Department of Ecology to exempt all vehicles of model year 2009 and newer from testing, because of improved emission controls. Legislators also directed the agency to increase the number of businesses allowed to perform the testing.

The state Department of Ecology is the process of updating vehicle emissions testing rules and is accepting public comments through March 31. E-mail comments to john.raymond@ecy.wa.gov. Mail comments to John Raymond, Air Quality Program, Washington Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600. Fax comments to 360-407-6802.

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