As of Dec. 1, North Carolina drivers with cars 20 years old or older will no longer need to get them inspected for emissions standards.
The new rule comes from Senate Bill 131 ( the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017), which was signed into law in 2017 and approved by the North Carolina Environmental Protection Agency.
In counties that require emissions testing as part of yearly vehicle inspections, only vehicles that are less than 20 years old meet the requirement. Farm vehicles, diesel-powered vehicles, and some light-duty vehicles are also exempt.
The age of the vehicle is based on model year, so a 1999 model-year vehicle would be exempt immediately, and 2000 model-year vehicles will be exempt next year, according to a release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Sens. Norman W. Sanderson and Andy Wells co-sponsored SB 131, which also removed 26 counties from the emissions requirement altogether, leaving 22 that still mandate emissions testing as part of the inspection process.
All vehicles registered in the state must still pass a yearly inspection in order to have registration renewed.