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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2021 02:30 PM
From: Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Exempting Newer Vehicles from the Emissions Test
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to exempt the five newest model year vehicles from the outdated emissions test.
Pennsylvania is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement the Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program to comply with the federal 1990 Clean Air Act amendment.  Pennsylvania’s I/M program requires motorists in 25 counties to participate in an annual emissions test costing approximately $40 for gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and light-duty trucks.  Electric Vehicles (EV) and diesel-powered vehicles are federally exempt, and other vehicles such as motorcycles are also exempt in Pennsylvania. 
A vehicle emissions test has become less effective at reducing air pollution, particularly due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles entering the fleet.  If Pennsylvania is successful in meeting or exceeding federal air quality standards, then our constituents should be rewarded for purchasing environmentally-friendly vehicles. 
The Wolf Administration insists that the Commonwealth should not update the federally-required State Implementation Plan to reform the onerous, costly regulations of the I/M program.  I disagree with Governor Wolf’s assessment.  If newer vehicles consistently pass the emissions test, then newer vehicles are not releasing emissions.  Therefore, we should be reforming our obsolete laws and regulations. 
Pennsylvania is a member of the federally-mandated Northeast Ozone Transport Region (OTR), which sets stricter air quality requirements for 12 States and the District of Columbia.  Interestingly, the following OTR States were approved to exempt newer vehicles from the emissions test:  Connecticut (4 years), Delaware (5 years), New Jersey (5 years), Rhode Island (2 years) and Virginia (4 years).  If other OTR States can exempt newer vehicles, then I believe Pennsylvania can as well.
Last, President Biden is traveling across the country to pitch his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes $170 billion to build EV charging stations.  The auto industry is also investing $225 billion towards vehicle electrification.  Further, auto manufacturers are pledging all or a portion of their vehicles will be electric between 2022-2035.  With the heightened focus on manufacturing and supporting fuel-efficient vehicles, we will continue to see improvements to our air quality.  As such, reforming our I/M program is timely and will actually encourage more constituents to buy fuel-efficient vehicles.    
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to reform an outdated sanction that Pennsylvania has been forced to meet since 2005.

Introduced as SB777