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Hogan Administration Announces New Reforms to Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program

Implements Recommendation from Governor’s Regulatory Reform Commission, Plan to Save Customers $2.25 Million Per Year

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced regulatory reforms that will save Maryland taxpayers time and money, as well as protect the health of our environment, through common sense changes to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MVA) Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP). The changes include extending initial VEIP inspections for new vehicles by one year. This announcement implements a recommendation from the governor’s Regulatory Reform Commission’s 2016 report, released in December.

The 2016 report tasked the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to amend VEIP regulations to expand the use of emerging technologies and provide opportunities to enact driver-friendly improvements.

“Our administration remains committed to enacting common sense solutions that provide increased value for Maryland taxpayers and improve customer service, while protecting the health of our environment,” said Governor Hogan. “This change will put more than $2 million back into the pockets of Maryland taxpayers and maintain critical environmental protections.”

Numerous advancements in vehicle technology over the years have allowed for streamlined VEIP regulations. For example, computerized on-board diagnostic testing is now occurring on the overwhelming majority of vehicles in Maryland.

By extending the initial VEIP inspection for new vehicles by one year, new vehicles will have to complete the initial inspection within 36 months. Currently, new vehicle owners must complete the initial test within two years. All pre-1996 model year light duty vehicles (cars and light trucks) would also be exempt from VEIP inspections. An on-board diagnostic test will continue to be conducted on 1996 and newer light-duty vehicles, as well as 2008 and newer medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

“These targeted improvements for vehicle emissions testing increase customer convenience, while maintaining our progress on air quality and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.

Approximately 1.6 million vehicles are inspected annually as part of VEIP. If the revised regulations are implemented, an anticipated 209,000 vehicles would be delayed for the initial inspection in 2018, a figure expected to stay constant in future years. Additionally, approximately 24,000 pre-1996 light duty vehicles would be exempt in the first year.

The VEIP program is required by the federal Clean Air Act to reduce ground-level ozone air pollution. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react with sunlight to produce ground-level ozone. Modeling shows reductions of those substances attributable to the VEIP program to be about 10 tons per day.  

These proposed regulatory reforms are the latest move by the Hogan administration to make the VEIP process more customer-friendly. Between August 2015 and October 2016, the state installed 10 new, convenient VEIP self-service kiosks that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Jointly administered by MVA and MDE, the kiosks allow Maryland vehicle owners to test vehicle emissions at their own convenience and at a reduced price of $10 compared to $14 at the test stations. For a complete list of self-service kiosk locations, click here.

The regulations will be submitted to Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR). When implemented, the enhancements will take effect January 1, 2018. In addition to taxpayer savings, the regulatory change will also save the state approximately $90,000 annually in reduced mailing and credit card fees.

 

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