Officials Want To Hear From NC Drivers On Changes To Auto Emissi - WSPA.com

Officials Want To Hear From NC Drivers On Changes To Auto Emission Testing

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The N.C. Division of Air Quality held a public hearing Wednesday in Raleigh to discuss a plan to get rid of emission testing requirements for newer vehicles. The N.C. Division of Air Quality held a public hearing Wednesday in Raleigh to discuss a plan to get rid of emission testing requirements for newer vehicles.
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -

Mechanics working at Autoworx in Hendersonville inspect anywhere from 10 to 15 vehicles a day.

The mandatory safety and emissions tests cost $30, if the vehicle is found with no problems.

"High failure rate parts are catalytic converters, oxygen sensors and gas caps. Stuff like that will cause the engine light to come on and it is an automatic failure, " says John McMurray, owner of Autoworx.

But those kinds of issues may soon go undetected on newer vehicles.

Lawmakers approved changes to the emissions inspection program last year.

The N.C. Environmental Management Commission still has to adopt the rules, before they go into effect.

If approved, cars and light-duty trucks that are less than three years old and have less than 70,000 miles will be exempt from emissions testing.

Drivers will still have to pass yearly safety tests in order to renew their registration.

The change would save drivers time and $16.40.

"Anything you can save nowadays is worth it," says motorist Jerry Fitzgerald. "I don't care if it is $5 or $50."

Some people consider the annual inspection for newer vehicles unnecessary.

"The computers can do a lot more on engine management to make for an efficient, less emitting vehicle," said Mark Rays who lives in Hendersonville.

Regardless, the ruling could either save drivers or cost mechanics.

"Overall, it will be a loss of revenue," McMurray said.

Similar changes are revving up across the country.

At least a dozen of 30 plus states that require emissions inspections have now exempted newer vehicles.

Whether North Carolina gets the green light to do so is up to state environmental officials.

In addition to Wednesday's public hearing, the N.C. Division of Air Quality is accepting written comments on the rules through Oct. 14.

Comments can be emailed to joelle.burleson@ncdenr.gov or mail to: Joelle Burleson, Division of Air Quality, 1641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1641

Officials say if the changes are approved, it is not expected to take effect until early 2014.

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