NEWS: CA bill to allow fee payment instead of smog test introduced

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Currently, California law states that your car must pass a smog test to be street legal if it is 1976 or newer. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of classics un-registerable or sold for scrap during the Cash for Clunkers program. A new bill, AB-550, seeks to give these cars a second chance. 

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The proposal would allow any car 30 years or older to pay a $200 fee in lieu of passing smog check, after it has failed smog twice and an attempt at repairs has been made. This would only affect cars of model year 1976 or newer, since those built before 1976 are smog-exempt. To quote the bill:

A.B. 550 allows the owner of a motor vehicle that is required to take a smog test to pay a smog abatement fee of $200 if the motor vehicle meets all of the following criteria: Is 30 or more model-years old; was manufactured during or after the 1976 model-year; fails a smog test; and fails a subsequent smog test after necessary repairs were made.

The SEMA Action Network has previously introduced a bill that would move the cut-off date for smog checks to 1981, but that failed to pass. AB-550 would at least generate some revenue for the state from cars that wouldn’t pass normally, and the $200 fee may serve as a deterrent for all but those who truly value their older vehicles.

For more on how you can help make this a reality, visit the SEMA Action Network.

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18 Responses to NEWS: CA bill to allow fee payment instead of smog test introduced

  1. Toyotageek said:

    Would this be a one time fee or bi-annual like the smog tests themselves?

  2. Toyotageek said:

    I just read it…. must meet ALL the criteria:

    A.B. 550 allows the owner of a motor vehicle that is required to take a smog test to pay a smog abatement fee of $200 if the motor vehicle meets all of the following criteria: Is 30 or more model-years old; was manufactured during or after the 1976 model-year; fails a smog test; and fails a subsequent smog test after necessary repairs were made.

  3. Steve said:

    I don’t see how this is nothing more than a way for the state to collect $200.

    As it is now, I thought if you spent a certain amount of money (based on a sliding scale) trying to get your car to pass smog and you still fail, you can get a waiver for some nominal administrative fee.

    This is just adding a $200 fee on top of that?

  4. AE86 GTS said:

    The only difference with this vs. paying someone to “pass” it for you is, you ultimately save more time and money just having a homeboy pass it for you, assuming it’s a bi-annual fee.

  5. Im jhun_hapi said:

    Does it have to be the original engine to be qualified or replacement engine will be ok? Any other modification will be allowed? This is a wonderful news for everyone.

    • wantyerknobbies said:

      Why are you linking to a defunct forum that doesn’t allow new members and other members warn us to stay away from there?

      • Im jhun_hapi said:

        I didnt know its going to link the 1stgencelica website. If you have a problem with it you dont have to mention it. Your comments is irrelavant to my questions.

  6. Greylopht said:

    Mostly a fee generator. You are still going to be out. 152 bucks (Current rate going for smog check in Mono/Inyo counties) for the two smogs, plus repairs. (I have not read it yet to see if it has to be ‘authorized repair shop and bring the bill’) to get the waiver.

    But as I recall, the CA smog law already had a clause in it for. 1) If the car was X years old 2) with X amount of work done costing X much 3) You can apply for a waiver. Waiver is good for 1 biannual smog. Just now it is permanent. I see more of a Fee scam here.

    There is one change to CA smog law, less use of rolling roads and machines. Basically plug the OBD II scanner in and if it all checks out good, it passes. Once it passes visual. This applies to 1996 and newer stuff of course. The old stuff will need a machine.

    Well the machines are costly, as well as all the infrastructure to run them and interface them with DMV ect. This will lead to less machines out in the field. As it is I am in one of the last counties to use the old non rolling road machines. This may affect us, unsure as of yet since we are also one of the last non-controlled counties. Only time you need to smog is when you transfer ownership. No Biannual out here.

    As for this fee waiver. Well it sure would have helped me about 6 months ago with one of the Leones I put in storage for a decade. .. Hitachi carb, with leaning solenoids for the feedback control. I got it passed, but it was not much fun. Granted I got it through for under the 200 dollar fee waiver, thanks to a cache of parts. But still. It would have saved time if I did not have to have a shop do the repairs.

    (Really, find me a shop that can even -work- on a feedback carburetor system any more. I have gotten pretty good at it on the older Subarus and Toyotas lately thanks to smog checks)

    • Yoda said:

      Sounds like the 1976 exemption date really should’ve been a 30-year rolling age-out from the very beginning. They were admittedly legislating to force technology, and they apparently didn’t think the first generation of it would become obsolete…

  7. xs10shl said:

    I wonder if the application of the bill will require the presence of all the catalyst equipment. It appears to be silent on what happens with a grey market car.

    If the catalyst equipment is still required, then I can’t imagine this bill is going to help many more people keep their cars on the road – iMHO the hardest thing about passing smog is making sure all the smog equipment is there and hooked up.

  8. mr hoodwrench said:

    this is bs, no one should tell me my car isnt a classic, because its not a gto, corvette, etc, i should be able to enjoy my car,the same as the guy with blower motor in his 73 truck that creates a whole lot more smog etc than my car

  9. @bosopat said:

    I feel this will just be a way to find out who is failing smog. I’m sure they will change the rules in 5 years to ” must now pass smog or dump your car”. All the tree huggers here in California won’t let this go.

  10. Rex Harrisen said:

    Nice idea keep me posted

    I like old cars and parts are difficult for smog after 20 to 28 years, Non available and expensive as heck IF you can find and are that LUCKY!

    SMOG CHECK AM all for it but if vehicle is driven less than 1,000 mi per year should be some kind of program for that too. It generates money for parts and mechanics, and if not a gross polluter and reasonably very clean why Not?

  11. WGC454 said:

    I HAVE A 1977 CORVETTE IT TOOK THREE TIMES TO PASS 2015 SMOG CHECK
    CALIFORNIA REFEREE WAS SECOND TIME IT FAILED HE ALSO SAID IT WAS
    ONE OF THE CLEANEST CARS HE HAD IN A LONG TIME
    THAT LAW IS FOR CLASSICS I WOULD PAY MORE NOT TO DO SMOG CHECKS
    LET DMV CRUSH THE JUNK

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