Washington clean car standards

To protect public health, we set emission standards for vehicles registered in the state. Vehicle pollution causes health problems, such as cancer and asthma, and contributes to climate change.


What are emission standards?

Emission standards limit the amount of pollution coming from a vehicle. All new vehicles for sale in the United States meet either federal emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or standards set by the California Air Resources Board. The California standards are stricter than federal standards. Washington's Clean Car Law was adopted by the Legislature in 2005. It states that, starting with 2009 models, new vehicles must meet strict clean air standards to be registered, leased, rented, licensed, or sold for use in Washington. This includes cars, light duty trucks, and passenger vehicles (SUVs and passenger vans).

New vehicles that do not meet Washington's clean car standards cannot be registered, licensed, rented, or sold here. Be advised that some new car models will not be legal for use in Washington even if they meet federal standards. It is your responsibility to make sure your car meets the state standards.

What do I have to do differently?

If you are buying a new car in Washington, you don't have to do anything. All vehicles delivered to Washington for sale must meet clean car standards. Any vehicle with less than 7,500 miles on the odometer at the time of purchase or trade is considered new.

At least 12 other states, including Oregon and California, have the same clean car laws. If you buy a new 2009 model car in those states, it should meet our standards.

How do I know if a car meets Washington's standards? Which cars are the cleanest? How can I find a clean car to buy? Why does Washington have this law? Environmental Performance label