Cache Valley requiring vehicle emissions tests

Posted at 5:37 PM, Feb 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-14 00:32:13-05

LOGAN, Utah - To combat smog in Cache County, motorists will soon be required to get vehicle emissions tests, and there's a plan in front of the Logan City Council to make that change easier.

Cache Valley's geography means pollution builds up and creates some of the worst air in the country. To help combat the problem, the Environmental Protection Agency told the county it needs to start requiring vehicle emissions tests.

Mechanic Troy Hawker doesn't think it'll make that big a difference in the first few years except for cars with check engine lights always on or old farm trucks and muscle cars.

"Anything 1996 or newer they are going to pass emission as long as they don't have their check engine light on," Hawker says.

If the plan goes through, new cars won't be required to be checked in the first six years, then they'll have to get a test every other year.

"Certainly we had people who wanted to do it. But we had a lot more people who didn't want to do it," said county executive Lynn Lemon. "I had an individual recently say, "Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah County have been doing emission testing for years it hasn't solved their air quality problem. Why are we being forced to do it here?'"

But Cache County doesn't have a choice whether to do emissions. The discussion is how they should implement the inspections. Lawmakers are working on a bill that would allow counties to decide the process with the Division of Air Quality.

"What's necessary in one area might be different. You might need more aggressive interventions in one area than in another area," said Rep. Ed Redd, R-Logan.

The city council is expected to vote on the plan within the next month. Emissions testing would be required in Cache County by 2014.