Wednesday, 18 August 2021 21:40

Unpopular Vehicle Emissions Program Finally Ending in Tennessee


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The unpopular vehicle emissions program in several Middle Tennessee counties as well as Hamilton County is finally ending after approval was given by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA’s ruling becomes effective on Sept. 16 and emissions testing will no longer be required beginning Jan. 14, 2022.


The ruling also affects Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties. Davidson County has chosen to continue its testing program.


In counties where vehicle emissions testing is ending, persons registering their vehicles on or before Jan. 13, 2022, will still be required to get the vehicle emissions test. Residents in those counties who register after Jan. 13, 2022, will not have to undergo vehicle emissions testing.


Rep. Mike Carter had led in the passage of a bill that was signed in 2018 by then-Gov. Bill Haslam to halt the program. However, approval was still needed from the EPA.


Carter's widow, Joan Carter, who is filling his seat on an interim basis, said the EPA approval actually happened several months ago but it just went on the Federal Register on Aug. 17.


"I wish Mike were here to receive the news that the vehicle emissions testing program is finally ending," Joan Carter said. "This was something he worked very hard on for many years.


"Ending a federal program is never easy, even a program like emissions testing that has outlived its usefulness. Over the years, more fuel and energy efficient cars on the road made the program largely obsolete," Joan Carter continued. "Worse still, the program was a regressive tax on Tennesseans who could least afford to pay it. It wasn’t the $9 fee, it was the hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in repair costs associated with getting a light turned off that often had nothing to do with emissions.


"There were other costs associated with this program too. Police officers told us about stopping people who couldn’t afford to...

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