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06/24/2019 12:17 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=29678
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 29, 2019 03:11 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward and Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr., Sen. Patrick J. Stefano, Sen. Elder A. Vogel, Jr., Sen. Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reforming Pennsylvania's Vehicle Emissions Testing Program
 
In the near future, we intend to offer a range of bills to reform Pennsylvania’s vehicle emissions testing program, also referred to as the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program.

Pennsylvania’s current I/M program requires motorists in 25 counties to participate in an annual emissions testing for gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks with a model year 1975 and newer. (Diesel-powered vehicles are federally exempt from an annual emissions testing, and other vehicles such as motorcycles are exempt in Pennsylvania.)

Vehicle emissions testing has become less effective at reducing air pollution, particularly due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles entering the fleet. There is also compelling evidence that vehicles are continuously passing the annual vehicle emissions testing. In Pennsylvania, between 2011-17, an average of 5.7 million vehicles were tested each year and an average of 96 percent of vehicles passed the test, which demonstrates annual vehicle emissions testing is ineffective and outdated. Although we are meeting or exceeding federal air quality standards and fewer vehicles are failing the emissions testing, there has not been any action in recent years to modernize the onerous, costly regulations of the I/M program.

On May 10, 2019, the Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Exempting Eligible Counties from Vehicle Emissions Testing” and we collected testimony from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Joint State Government Commission, the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, and an inspection mechanic. Following this hearing, we are convinced that we can make meaningful changes to an unnecessary sanction created 30 years ago.

Please consider co-sponsoring our proposals to reform Pennsylvania’s I/M program to ensure the Commonwealth delivers regulatory relief and cost-savings to our constituents.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Nolan Ritchie, Senator Kim Ward’s Office, at nritchie@pasen.gov.



Document #1

Introduced as SB742

Description: Bill #1:  Relieving Newer Vehicles from the Vehicle Emissions Testing

This legislation will exempt gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks from the I/M program for the first 8 years after manufacture in counties that require emissions testing. 
 
According to the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, less than 2 percent of newer vehicles in this category failed the emissions testing in 2011-2017.  Newer vehicles are built with energy-efficient designs and parts, which have rendered emissions testing obsolete.
 
A variety of states already exempt newer vehicles from emissions testing including California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  It should be noted that vehicle emissions testing is not required by the federal government in 18 states.
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB743

Description: Bill #2:  Establishing a Vehicle Emissions Testing Program Every 2 Years

This legislation will eliminate the annual vehicle emissions testing and replace it with a 2-year testing requirement for gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks older than 8 years after manufacture in counties that require emissions testing. 
 
According to the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, gasoline-powered cars, vans, and light-duty trucks with a model year 1975 and newer rarely fail an emissions testing.  Between 2011-17, an average of 96 percent of vehicles passed the test, and the highest failure rate was only 6.54 percent for model year 1996 vehicles.
 
A variety of states already allow for a biennial testing program including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  It should be noted that vehicle emissions testing is not required by the federal government in 18 states.
 

Document #3

Introduced as SB744

Description: Bill #3:  Exempting Eligible Counties from the Vehicle Emissions Testing

This legislation will exempt Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, and Westmoreland Counties from the vehicle emissions testing. 
 
Senate Resolution 168 of 2017 directed the Joint State Government Commission to evaluate the impacts of removing a county of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th class from vehicle emissions testing.  A product of S.R. 168 was a supplemental memorandum dated January 18, 2019, which fully carried-out the objectives of S.R. 168 and identified these 7 counties as candidates for removal from vehicle emissions testing.  The removal of these counties is likely to have a minimal effect on the overall ability of the Commonwealth to maintain the federal air quality standards.
 
Improved air quality in North Carolina allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove 26 of 48 counties from their state’s emissions testing in September 2018, which provides evidence that the EPA considers removing eligible counties with improved air quality.  Also, Tennessee passed a law in 2018 eliminating their vehicle emissions testing in counties, which is pending approval by the EPA.
 

Document #4

Introduced as SB745

Description: Bill #4:  Eliminating Dynamometer and Tailpipe Emissions Testing for Certain Vehicles

This legislation will replace the tailpipe test in Pittsburgh and the 2-speed idle test via a dynamometer/treadmill in the Philadelphia region with a gas cap test and a visual inspection for model year 1994-95 vehicles.
 
Currently, there is antiquated equipment needed to perform these tests, and local inspection stations are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain or find the equipment.  Consequently, vehicle owners are unable to find nearby inspection stations that can perform the federally-mandated emissions testing.
 
This is the Senate companion bill to House Bill 266, which overwhelmingly passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (187-4) last Session.
 

Document #5

Introduced as SB746

Description: Bill #5:  Extending the Transition Date for New Emissions Testing Equipment

This legislation will extend the transition date for existing emissions inspection stations that are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to obtain new emissions testing equipment by November 1, 2019.