Classic car exemption could be threatened in California counties

Jan. 1, 2020
An introduction in California's state legislature could evict classic cars from public roads. A recent report from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) notes a bill was introduced in the California State Senate that would repeal the stat
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An introduction in California's state legislature could evict classic cars from public roads. A recent report from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) notes a bill was introduced in the California State Senate that would repeal the state’s current emissions-test exemption for pre-1976 vehicles registered by new owners in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District.

The District covered by the the proposal, also known as S.B. 1549, includes eight counties in California’s Central Valley: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the valley portion of Kern.

Under the bill, new owners seeking to register a pre-1976 vehicle in these eight counties after the beginning of next year would be subject to emissions tests for the life of the car. Currently, these vehicles are exempt. The California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee is expected to consider the proposal April 1.

SEMA notes that California’s current emissions testing exemption acknowledges these vehicles' minimal impact to the environment, not to mention the dwindling portion of this population of vehicles.

Pre-1976 antique and classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained, a SEMA news release attests.

Additonally, repeal of the exemption in the San Joaquin Valley could lead the state legislature to target other areas.

The SEMA Action Network (SAN), the association's legislative arm, urges the industry to contact state legislators in order to speak up on S.B. 1549.

The SAN has published legislative contacts and more information here.

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