Reported By Nancy Amons
A bill being introduced in Metro Council would allow people whose cars are less than two years old to skip emissions testing.
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For about 26,000 car owners in Davidson County, that would mean a temporary reprieve from the dreaded lines at the testing station.
"I hate waiting in line. I don't have patience," said Wanda Howard, who was waiting in line for her car to be tested.
"I think it's a great idea," said Katie Snell, the owner of a new vehicle. "I had to get a new car, because sometimes it was difficult for my old one to pass."
Councilman Jim Forkum is one of the sponsors.
"The people with newer cars would not have to wait in line, and they would pay $3 instead of $9, so it would definitely save time and money," Forkum said.
The Metro Health Department supervises the vehicle emissions program. The Health Department said cars that are two years old or less fail only an average of 2 percent of the time. The failure rate on average, including all cars, is 10 percent.
More than half a million cars are tested in Davidson County every year. There are some complications with the exemption.
The Health Department isnt sure how the EPA would react to allowing 26,000 cars to skip testing when a percentage of them would be expected to fail.
"We look at the health impact, and of what the EPA requires of us," said Brian Todd of the Metro Health Department.
State lawmakers may make a similar change. State Sen. Jack Johnson has introduced a bill to exempt testing statewide for vehicles less than three years old. Johnson said there is still much work to be done on the bill, including calculating what it would cost the state.
If Metro exempts newer cars from testing, it stands to lose 50 cents per car. The company that contracts with Metro to do the testing would lose $5.50 per car in revenue.
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