Enthusiasts in California are rallying against legislation that has beenintroduced in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Dave Jones to requireannual smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. Inaddition, the bill would direct funds generated through the additionalinspection fees to be deposited into an account which can be used toscrap older cars. The bill has been referred to the AssemblyTransportation Committee for consideration.
The measure represents another attempt by California legislators andregulators to scapegoat older cars for air-quality deficiencies. In2004, despite objections from the vehicle hobby community, Californiarepealed its rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years oldand older and replaced it with a law requiring the lifetime testing ofall '76 and newer model-year vehicles.
"Under this year's bill, pre-'76 vehicles would continue to be exemptfrom smog checks," said Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president, governmentaffairs. "However, vehicles 15 years old and older--presently'76-'92--that are not currently exempt would move from a biennial test toannual tests with the clear intent of moving them into the scrappageprogram."
Sponsors of the legislation ignore the fact that vehicles 15 years oldand older still constitute a small portion of the overall vehiclepopulation and are a poor source from which to look for emissionsreduction. Legislators are also ignoring the fact that classic vehiclesare overwhelmingly well maintained and infrequently driven.
"Implementing an annual test would not only increase the vehicle owner'scost, but it would also give the state more opportunities to lure thesevehicles into retirement," McDonald added.
Recently, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District released an updatedsmog plan that calls for scrapping 30,000 passenger cars, five times thenumber previously planned. Scrappage programs, widely rejected by otherstates as an ineffective means of cleaning the air, accelerate thenormal demise of vehicles through the purchase of older cars which arethen typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal.
"By virtue of these scrappage programs, the vehicle hobby risks the lossof potential collector cars and parts forever that could have been usedin a project," commented SAN Director Jason Tolleson.