DENR Recommends Ending Emissions Testing In Some NC Counties

Apr 6, 2015

Emissions testing costs $14.60 per vehicle in 48 of NC's 100 counties.
Credit Dave DeWitt

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is recommending that vehicle emission testing is no longer necessary in many North Carolina counties. 

The DENR report, ordered by the Legislature in 2013, says that emission testing of cars and trucks in as many as 31 counties could be eliminated by next year. 

“North Carolina’s air quality has improved significantly since emissions testing requirements were expanded for motor vehicles in the early 2000s,” said Donald van der Vaart, secretary of DENR, in a statement. “We studied the air quality improvements for this report and concluded that we could eliminate emissions testing for motor vehicles in numerous counties without harming air quality or violating federal standards.”

The state currently requires testing in 48 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The report says the testing could end because emissions in the counties will be below new national ozone standards. 

If the EPA sets a lower standard, DENR recommends eliminating testing in the following counties: Brunswick, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Edgecombe, Franklin, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Robeson, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Wayne, Wilkes and Wilson. If the standard is set higher, the recommendation includes four additional counties: Granville, Orange, Pitt and Rockingham. 

If enacted by the Legislature, the change would save owners in those counties $14.60 dollars a year, per vehicle.