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Vehicle emissions

We are working to protect the air by implementing the Clean Car Law, reducing diesel exhaust, providing information about the emissions testing program, and managing the Volkswagen enforcement actions that resulted from federal and state clean air act violations.

Transportation is Washington's largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Emissions testing program

Most of Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties require vehicle emissions tests for personal and fleet vehicles. Find out more about Washington’s vehicle emission check program. If your vehicle is currently out of an emission testing area, but will return to a testing required area, you will need to complete and return the Temporary Out-Of-Area Exemption from Emission Test application to waive the test until the vehicle is back in the test area.

If your business has a fleet of vehicles you may be authorized to conduct your own emission testing, or you may contract an authorized tester. State and local government fleet vehicles are tested for free at test stations. Find out more about fleet emission check requirements or learn how to become an authorized emission specialist through the training program.

Testing isn't required for diesel vehicles that:

  • Are 2007 and newer models.
  • Have been equipped with an exhaust particle filter.
  • Weigh 6,000 pounds or less.

Clean Car Law

The Clean Car Law was passed in 2005. Cars, light duty trucks, and passenger vehicles (SUVs and passenger vans) manufactured after Jan. 1, 2009, must meet strict clean air standards to be registered, leased, rented, licensed, or sold in Washington. The law helps to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Diesel exhaust is one of the most harmful air pollutants. Seventy percent of cancers caused by airborne pollutants are from diesel exhaust. It puts healthy people at risk for respiratory diseases and complicates matters for people with asthma, heart, and lung disease. Over four million people in Washington live and work where exposure to diesel exhaust is high. We are working to reduce emissions and protect your health by assisting fleet managers in:

  • Reducing idling.
  • Using cleaner fuels.
  • Installing equipment to clean up diesel exhaust (retrofitting).
  • Replacing older engines with new, cleaner ones.

Volkswagen enforcement actions

Volkswagen violated federal and state clean air laws by installing illegal emissions software on some diesel vehicles. In January 2016, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a lawsuit against VW. After admitting fault, they reached multiple settlements with the EPA.

Washington is eligible to receive $112.7 million from the federal settlement. The funds can be used to reduce air pollution from transportation.