car emissions in Maryland Washington DC and Virginia

Emissions Checklist for Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.

Laws and regulations pertaining to vehicle emissions checks vary depending on where you live. In a metro area like the DMV where regulations can change in a matter of miles, things can get a bit complicated. Make sure to do your research on which rules apply to you.

Maryland Emissions Requirements

Maryland’s Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) applies to vehicles registered in:

  • Anne A​​ru​n​del County
  • Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County
  • Calvert County
  • Carroll County   
  • Cecil County
  • Charles County
  • Frederick County
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George’s County
  • Queen Anne’s County
  • Washington County

If your vehicle isn’t registered in one of those counties, the VEIP rules won’t apply to you. A number of factors may also exempt your vehicle from VEIP requirements. Vehicles made in 1995 or earlier that weigh less than 8,500 pounds, historic vehicles, motorcycles, agricultural equipment and vehicles owned by certain types of drivers (like seniors over the age of 70) might be exempt. Check the Maryland DMV’s website to learn more.

The test your vehicle will be required to undergo depends on its age and type:

  • Gas caps of eligible vehicles manufactured in 1995 or earlier
  • On-board diagnostics for 1996 and newer vehicles (namely the emission control components)
  • Tailpipe test for vehicles manufactured 1995 or earlier and heavy-duty vehicles 2008 or newer

You can find a VEIP station in your county here.

Washington D.C. Vehicle Emissions Inspection

Washington D.C. is one of the few places where you can perform your own vehicle emissions test at a free-standing kiosk.

The type of test your vehicle will need to pass depends on the year it was built. Vehicles built in 1996 or later undergo an on-board diagnostics (OBD) test that is intended to confirm all emissions-related components and systems are working properly. Vehicles manufactured between 1985 and 1995 undergo a tailpipe test. Vehicles built between 1968 and 1983 must past a two-speed idle tailpipe test. 

If your vehicle is registered in Washington D.C. and only requires the OBD test, you can use the self-service kiosk. You may want to read the tutorial first. If for whatever reason you can’t get the self-serve vehicle test to work, you’ll need to visit a DC DMV Inspection Station during their normal business hours.

Virginia Emissions Requirement

Not every Virginia vehicle owner is required to have inspections performed. If your vehicle is registered in one of the following cities or counties, you will be required to have emissions inspections performed:

  • Arlington County
  • Fairfax County
  • Loudoun County
  • Prince William County
  • Stafford County
  • Alexandria
  • Fairfax
  • Falls Church
  • Manassas
  • Manassas Park

Some vehicles are exempt, such as motorcycles, gasoline passengers vehicles over 25 years of age, diesel vehicles manufactured after 1996 that weigh less than 8,501 pounds and electric and natural gas vehicles. You can see the full list of exemptions on the Virginia DMV emissions inspection website.

Virginia makes it easier than a lot of states to get an inspection because they don’t rely solely on DMV-operated emission testing facilities. There are literally hundreds of inspection stations to choose from in cities and counties that require emissions testing because the checks can be performed at nearly any service station, repair shop or dealership that displays the DEQ (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) logo. You can find a testing station near you here.

In most cases your vehicle emissions testing is required for renewing vehicle registration and is usually good for two years. As with the Washington D.C. and Maryland inspections, most vehicles manufactured since 1996 undergo the OBD testing of the vehicle’s emissions systems. Older vehicles and heavier vehicles may be required to undergo the two-speed dynamometer tailpipe test.

Does Your Vehicle Bought From Easterns Automotive Require Emissions Testing?

Whether your vehicle bought from Easterns Automotive requires emissions testing depends on where you’ll be registering it. Most of the car shoppers visiting our eight locations throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. will likely require some kind of emissions testing.

However, there are a lot of different rules and state and county authorities in the states we serve. Make sure to check with your local DMV on emissions and vehicle inspection requirements for your area.

If you’re looking for a great pre-owned vehicle in the DMV – one that’s been thoroughly inspected for things like vehicle safety and working on-board diagnostics – visit Easterns Automotive Group.

Call us at 877-867-0641 and browse our inventory to learn about our vehicle selection near you.