December 01, 2000
MASSACHUSETTS LAW REGARDING EMISSIONS TESTING OF OLDER MOTOR VEHICLES
By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Research Analyst
You asked what the Massachusetts law is regarding older cars and exhaust emissions testing and how this compares with Connecticut's law.
Massachusetts' law allows state officials responsible for the emissions program to exempt vehicles that are 15 years old before the year in which their inspection occurs. State implementing regulations provide an exemption for vehicles that are 1983 models or older. Connecticut law exempts cars that were manufactured 25 or more years ago.
Under the Massachusetts' emissions inspection statute, most aspects of the emissions inspection program, including determining what vehicles are subject to testing, are generally left to the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to determine through regulation (111 M.G.L.A. § 142M; 90 M.G.L.A. § 7A). The commissioner must determine the vehicles that are subject to the inspection and notify the motor vehicle registrar who must notify vehicle owners of the required inspection procedures.
The law allows the environmental protection commissioner to adopt regulations exempting certain motor vehicles from some or all of the inspection requirements. It specifically states that certain types of vehicles may be exempt from the statutory inspection requirements and “may require alternate test procedures.” Any vehicle the model year of which is 15 years before the year in which the inspection occurs in one of the possible exempt categories (111 M.G.L.A. § 142M(c)). This appears to be the only reference to older vehicles in the Massachusetts statutes.
The program regulations contain two exemptions that are based on vehicle age. The two exemptions are for (1) any vehicle with a model year earlier than 1984 and (2) any new vehicle for up to 24 months from the date of registration after sale or lease to its ultimate purchaser (310 CMR 60.02(3)(b)). This means that 1983 and older vehicles are not subject to emissions testing.
Connecticut's emissions inspection law has a “rolling” exemption for any vehicles that were manufactured 25 or more years ago (CGS § 14-164c(c)(6)). Also, PA 00-180, among other things, requires the Department of Motor Vehicle regulations for the emissions inspection program, by October 1, 2002, to include an inspection exemption for vehicles four model years or less old, as long as this is not found to violate certain federal environmental or transportation planning requirements.