Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Hybrids exempt from smog tests?

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
Should hybrids be exempt from smog tests (and the fee associated with them)?


  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    Hi gang,
       Just heard on the 5 o'clock news that the Honda EV, Honda Civic hybrid and the TOYOTA PRIUS will be EXEMPT from bi-annual smog (tailpipe emission) checks in California. Go Prius!
    Congrats to all Prius owners in California.

    mfullmer - Grew up in El Sobrante, still in Contra Costa County.
  • jpricejprice Posts: 58
    That's non-trivial. Aside from the hassle, the smog check runs to over $40 (assuming no repairs are required - then it can run a lot higher.)
    First post to this board - I ordered my Prius in April, it's due in August (maybe September), and the dealer says that when I get mine, it may be an '05. Should I expect any particular differences from the '04?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    In CA there is a movement afoot to do a dyno smog test. In addition to the effort to also have STATE dyno smog testing facilities. They will be keeping the old stationary smog tests due to the fact that 4 wheel drives are not made for two wheel dynos! :) Due to the much higher investments, the new dyno test (done by vendors) will probably cost 100 dollars per test. Not wanting to pass up a revenue opportunity if the state facilities are so equiped they will probably also charge app the same.

    On the other hand, the new governator is trying to increase the fees you pay per year so you don't have to get a smog test for the first six years(?) (TBD obviously). Since the Prius and the TDI are both exempt from either smog tests, you should probably let your representatives know that you do not favor higher fees! :)
  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    Hi gang,
       Last year I smogged my '84 Corvette and they performed the "dyno" test on rollers.
      Didn't we have an earlier post alluding to somewhere in the midwest, Kansas, Nebraska or around there where the state was going to impose an "extra fee" on vehicle registrations for hybrids that don't pay as much at-the-pump tax due to high mpg? I wouldn't put it past the state gov't here in California to find some other way to get money. If they can't find it in the right pocket, they'll get it from the left pocket. I hope that the bill that's up before the feds gets passed allowing hybrids to use the "diamond" lanes (high occupancy vehicle) during rush hour regardless of number of passengers. Currently only natural gas powered and selected others are exemptto the number of passengers req'd.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Nebraska has a special fee for hybrid cars like the Prius, I think it's $75, to make up for loss of revenue from reduced at-the-pump taxes. I don't know if other states have a similar fee.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    That doesn't seem fair. Are you saying if a person buys an extra efficient car, he is penalized to make up for the loss in road tax? I thought less fuel use and lower emissions benefits everyone.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    If your diamond lanes are like ours in San Diego, with limited access. I don't like getting on them, invariably I get behind someone cruising at 55 mph. You are stuck with the rest of the lanes whizzing by at 75 mph. I think the exemption from smog checks on hybrid vehicles is probably a good deal. If people only knew how corrupt that whole smog check system is in CA. they would revolt.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    El Sobrante - Cool. I grew up in Orinda and now live in Atlanta.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    Good thinking. Of course they would never ask for an extra fee for all of those people out there driving 15+ year old cars who do most of the pulluting.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    CA (and I am sure other states as well) have a smog exemption if the car hits 20-25? years old. :)
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    Yes but cars that are 15 years old, assuming they are taken care of, emit tons more (literally) emissions than even the worst polluter today. In fact, there are documented reports that state that they produce over 50% of the vehicle emissions while only consituting less than 15% of the cars on the road.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    I live in a county that failed the EPA air quality measurements. Specifically the failure is particulate pollution. Care to guess the source of 80% of the pollution? The answer is industry and to be specific it is steel mills. While the older cars may emit more and the new cars emit less pollution, the harm to the environment to produce the raw materials to manufacture new vehicles is significant.
    If a Prius replaces a older vehicle that has high emissions is the net effect a decrease or increase in emissions when you consider the emissions that went into the creation of the Prius? I do not have the answer.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    "If a Prius replaces a older vehicle that has high emissions is the net effect a decrease or increase in emissions when you consider the emissions that went into the creation of the Prius? I do not have the answer."

    You highlight one reason why I personally want to go over the 8.5 year average age of the passenger car vehicle fleet and put more than the normal 100-150k miles on! (my own goals 500-1M miles)

    If indeed making new cars is the resource "waster" and all those societal "bad things" that it is made out to be, industry is more than capable to make the platform modular and also longer lasting! So all you have to do is swap out the offending part; such as engine etc etc.

    In answer to older cars polluting more, my 14 year old TLC with 250k was in "total compliance" with the smog test and the laws that governed it. At the 14th year it was actually emitting very very close to when it was brand new!
  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    gagrice- I have to believe that the diamond lane policies in San Diego are the same as up here. Do the lanes have the $271 fine for unlawful use?
       As far as the smog tests go, the Prius really doesn't idle and if tested at 1200 rpm on a dyno track, the gas engine may/may not be running.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Yes $271 is the fine for illegal use. I don't know if that includes going under the speed limit. We only have a few and they are very limited access. The one I go on occasionally is I-15 it switches directions from morning to night traffic. I try my best to stay off the roads during the busy times.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I see no reason to smog the Hybrids for at least 6 years. Where CA needs to put emphasis is the out of country vehicles that smoke horribly. We get literally thousands of vehicles coming across the border daily from Mexico. That is creating a lot of concern, as they are not subjected to CA emission laws.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Posts: 149
    Most of those Front BC cars coming into the US may go only a few mile up north of the border then back to Mexico by the end of the day. Assuming all of these non compliant cars are prevented from entering the US, what can prevent that polluted air over TJ from drifting into SD. Reality is, the US has no legal right to apply its laws in another country.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Not only smog drifts across the border. Raw sewage is carried by the ocean currents onto San Diego beaches. The Feds have spent several billion to upgrade the TJ sewer treatment system. The industry across our border is rapidly expanding. One of the problems is their laws are not as strict as ours. Hopefully we will diplomatically convince them it is to all our benefit to clean the air and water.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    OK, I think we have ventured far enough off-topic. Let's not get into border wars / politics.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Okay hybrids aren't exempt from emmisions testing in Tx but they are passing out funds for Innovative Technologies - snip - The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) today ((August 12, 2004)) announced the award of $8.3 million in pollution reduction grants under the New Technology Research and Development (NTRD) program, an innovative program created by the Texas Legislature to provide financial incentives to encourage and support research, development and commercialization of technologies to reduce pollution in Texas. rdgrants.html
  • rx400_ownerrx400_owner Posts: 59
    rpgolfer - it might be hard to believe, but the diamond lane construction and usage is different in Southern Cal from that in Northern Cal at least where I've had an opportunity to drive.

    All the Northern California diamond lanes I've seen are just another lane with a dotted line between them and the regular lanes and diamonds to mark them. One can freely transition in and out of them (except the special case going from 80 West to the Golden gate bridge where they have their own overpass). Even up here there are some other variations like some of the lanes require 3 in the car and some only 2.

    The diamond lanes in LA area are generally marked with a double solid line plus a dotted line. When the carpool lane is left of the regular lanes (as it usually is) the dotted line is on the left and the double solid lines are directly to the right of the dotted line. My understanding is that this marking means you can only join the carpool lane where there are gaps in the double solid line but you can leave whenever you need to. Some of the carpool lanes in LA, especially those near downtown, make me very nervous to drive in because you can be zipping along in a tight channel at high speed with a concrete barrior on your left and a solid line of stop and go cars on your right. If anything should go wrong there is no room for the slightest swerve much less changing lanes to get out of the way of trouble.

    Friends in SanDiego tell me that there in and out of the lanes is even more tightly controlled. You can only enter and exit at certain points.
  • I might just be the first one to have to have my '06 Highland Hybrid 4wd LTD smogged! Shucks! I bought the car in Ohio, drove it back, went to the DMV to get it registered, and low-and-behold, I have to have it smogged.

    I have until the end of August ...

    If anyone has done a smog test on a Hybrid, I'd love to hear from you.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I might just be the first one to have to have my '06 Highland Hybrid 4wd LTD smogged! Shucks! I bought the car in Ohio, drove it back, went to the DMV to get it registered, and low-and-behold, I have to have it smogged."\

    What??? Here in CA they don't make you get a smog test for 5 years on a new car...
  • marcbmarcb Posts: 152
    Back in the early hybrid days when i still owned an 01 Prius, I had to have it tested (a requirement here in Ontario Canada when cars hit 3 years).

    For the test I...

    1) Had a change oil, then

    1) Drove at high speed for 30 minutes to make sure the cat converter was at max temp so the ICE would not kick in to warm it up while on the idling test.
    (Also it was to top up the batteries to max, again to minimize ICE kicking in).

    2) Temporarily overinflated the tires beyond tirewall max so the car will roll most efficiently.

    3) Turned off all accesories (including the energy monitor) then parked on the nearest spot to the test bay so minimal juice will be used.

    When the technician saw it was a hybrid, he had this misconception the ICE would never run on the idle test. Called someone from the gov who also made another booboo and told him to test it like a diesel (spot for black smoke while idling).

    Of course, tech knew that would never happen, so he just gave me a pass on a diesel test doc without so much as stepping inside the car.

    Paid $35 bucks for a piece of paper that meant nothing.


    Heres an article I found interesting but which I never tried. So take it with a grain of salt...
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,747
    took my 14 year old mustang 5.0 for it's test. it has low mileage(30k), but still has original plugs, wires, etc. the air filter has been changed a couple of times.
    passed the dyno test, with flying colors. the tester wasn't too happy it passed, becasue they also do repairs. :) i was like :shades:
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • Well, the saga of the smog test continued and I have a happy ending!

    After taking my 4wd HH Lmtd to a smog test place, the poor tech was so confused when he just started it. I was almost LOL! He started it ... had a big puzzled-look on his face. Turned off the key and restarted it. I went to the window, winked and said it is a hybrid. He was red as a beet! ;)

    Back to the 'smog test'. The tech (and then the owner) informed me that they CAN'T test a hybrid, and especially a 4wd one. There is NO WAY to control when the gas-engine comes on. So I left with my wallet intact and the toll-free phone number for the California Department of Automotive Repairs.

    Got home ... called. They confirmed that hybrids can't be tested at this time. They referred me to the "Smog Referee" when I asked what I was supposed to tell the DMV. (Didn't even know there was such thing as a "Smog Referee"!). Called him ... he confirmed that ALL Hybrids are exempt in California .. tell the DMV clerk to call their home office in Sacramento - they made the rule.

    SO ... I went back to the DMV and the clerk insisted I had to have a smog certificate because the vehicle was purchased out of state (DUMB rule!). I asked for his supervisor, who didn't even know there was a HYBRID Highlander! I asked for HIS supervisor, who came over, changed the fuel description on their screen to "Q" instead of "G" and I was on my way. :shades:

    What an ordeal! But, the outcome was okay.

    In CA ALL Hybrids are exempt from smog testing!

    Hope everyone else is helped by this saga.

    Happy Hybriding!
    DJ in Santa Clara :)
  • if the hybrid cars get to pass on the test then that in itself will promote more sales of the cars. and then back yard mechanics will figure a way around the battery when the cars get older to make them run on just the gas engine. this then will carry through to the testing of these cars and they will have a black market of test free cars on the road that run just on gas engines. and the smog problem may return from all the ?hybrid cars on the roads running gas engines only. the hybrid will run on the engine but it uses the battery for take off. and then the gas engines start to kick in. the after market will soon start producing performance parts for the hybrids to make the gas engine more powerful. the battery's will get disconnected and because they say hybrid they will drive right by the test stations. may be a good thing maybe not.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I think you would find with the Toyota Hybrids, they will not run without a GOOD battery. There are also sensors on everything to do with emissions that will stop the car dead in its tracks. Down to a gas tank sensor failure. It would take some real modification to work around the HSD. Diesel vehicles are also exempt in CA. So they save you at the pump and the DMV also.
This discussion has been closed.