For Californians, getting a smog check is simply a typical part of the process when one has to register a car, truck or other motor vehicle. While many Californians no doubt wish they could avoid this process, the smog check has helped make our state’s air safer and cleaner.
The 1950s were a booming time for California. The first freeways were being built, more people were moving to the state and as a result of the higher population and more vehicles, air pollution began spiraling out of control. By 1959, the smog was bad enough that state legislators passed a bill that required the establishment of quality standards for our air. The Department of Public Health was charged with this task, as well as coming up with innovative ways to reduce pollution. In 1963, this process was aided by the federal funds that came from the Clean Air Act. Local and state air quality districts now had federal money to help find solutions to the smog problem. In addition to requiring that all new cars in California adhere to certain admissions standards, the state created a Smog Check Program in 1984.
The results of this program speak for themselves. While the state population has continued to climb, the pollution rates have not. For example, in 1975, the South Coast Air Quality Management District reported that there were 118 days with Stage 1 smog alerts. In 1985, just one year after the smog checks were required, this number fell to 83 days. By 1990, this number had dropped to 42 alerts and by 2000, there were no Stage 1 smog alerts.
There are more than 35 counties in the state of California that require smog or emission checks when you register a vehicle. This includes Alameda County and, of course, in the city of Berkeley. In Berkeley, most vehicles will need a smog check every other year in order to complete registration.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Vehicles that are less than six years old are typically exempt from smog check requirements. In addition, motorcycles, trailers and hybrid or electric vehicles are exempt from smog checks. Gasoline-powered vehicles built in 1975 or prior to that year also are not required to have smog checks. Diesel powered vehicles built prior to 1999 also are exempt if they have a gross vehicle weight rating higher than 14,000 pounds. Also, any vehicle greater than 14,000 pounds that is powered by natural gas also is exempt.
To make your Berkeley smog check easier, find a test-only station that takes both walk-in smog checks or allows you the ease of booking online. Some Berkeley smog check centers even offer a discount for booking online. Typically, a test takes about 20 minutes, but the length of time depends of the type of vehicle, the model of the vehicle and the vehicle age.
Nolan Tornes likes writing and sharing tips on auto maintenance. For additional information about smog test Berkeley centers or to find out more about car smog Berkeley centers, please check out the Berkeley-Smog.com site now.
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