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Feb 11, 2020

We don't have emissions or smog in my state, my city, my county : Vehicle Import Information

JDM Mazda RX-7, Two JDM R32 GT-R, and a JDM Toyota Supra
Emissions are regulated by the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency.  Unless you are in California, then California under the EPA's authority has the ability to set its own emissions requirements.  At least partially revoked by the Trump administration, it all can get a little muddy recently.  However to us in the business, and to the normal person, it all, at least for now appears as it has.

Vehicles over 21 years old, in original configuration are exempt from EPA requirements for importation. This does not mean that you don't have to have emissions equipment on the car, it means that for the purposes of import, the vehicle is exempt.

The EPA does not set title or registration requirements.  Your state sets title and registration requirements. If the state requires a VIN inspection, or an emissions test, then that is what they require to title the vehicle.   Being 21 years old, does not exempt you from your local state requirements for an emissions - or rather an in use emissions check. 

Without getting too complicated, when a state has emissions testing, this is called, In Use Testing. Its also called smog check, e-check, smog, IM240, etc.   What In Use Testing does, is verify that vehicles on the road are maintaining emissions requirements as set forth by the EPA.  So the state is verifying vehicles are continuing to meet Federal requirements for mobile sources.

Even if your state doesn't test, your car still needs to meet EPA requirements. 40CFR Part 85. Control of Air Pollution From Mobile Sources

Many states, or localities don't have In Use Testing. What surprises some people, are there are areas even in California that don't have In Use Testing.  Just because they don't test, doesn't mean that you are exempt from emissions requirements. They just don't have testing. This is a difficult concept for some people to grasp. A similar type situation would be speeding. You speed, you record video of it. While you didn't get caught or pulled over for it when breaking the law, later on the police use the information you posted publicly to charge you with a crime.

Recently there has been a lot of news about the RPM Act from SEMA.

The RPM Act reverses the EPA’s interpretation that the Clean Air Act does not allow a motor vehicle designed for street use—including a car, truck, or motorcycle—to be converted into a dedicated racecar.  This American tradition was unquestioned for nearly 50 years until 2015 when the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they are no longer driven on public streets or highways.  Although the EPA did not finalize the proposed rule, the agency still maintains the practice of modifying the emission system of a motor vehicle for the purpose of converting it for racing is illegal.  Manufacturing, selling and installing race parts for the converted vehicle would also be a violation. The EPA has also announced that enforcement against high performance parts—including superchargers, tuners, and exhaust systems—is a top priority for 2020.

More California emissions information.
Smog information
Emissions standard
Clean Air Act

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