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Inter State Emission System Issues

Differences in emissions regulations is between states is becoming a larger issue as more cars are sold on line and shipped across state boundaries. Does anyone know what is required to convert a new car with a Federal Emissions System to a 50 State or Massachusetts Compliant Emissions System?

Submitted by: Rick


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I wanted to thank you folks for your comments and suggestions. The reaqlity is that GM will not help you at all with thi issue and has no interest in putting pressure on the dealer to do anything to resolve the issue. GM says the VIN is permanently associated with the setup of the cars computer and equipment that directly relates to the emission system. Because safety inspections require the inspection station plug into the cars computer to look for error codes as well as they cars initial emission configuration, GM says that changing the equipment would make every inspection a problem. My only resolution was to prove residency in a state that had less stringent laws, which meant also getting a license in that state. Once that was accomplished I was able to register the car legally, take it back to Massachusetts and proceed to put 7500 miles on the car, at which point I was able to register the car and pass inspection in the Mass. This was the only soluton. The dealer I bought the car from was not supportive, the sales manager refused to return my calls until I had the problem resolved on my own several months later. And GM wonders why thery're having customer service issues. Again, thanks for your help and if any members need help with the same issue, drop me a note. Rick on 4/21/2010 6:33:19 PM
In California,you can't register a new non-CA car until it has 7500 miles. Creative minds find solutions. When I ordered my 2002 out of state,the only difference between CA,Northeast, and other C5s was the emissions sticker that the factory placed on the car at no charge. For more info,go to We used to have a Maserati dealer in town selling 49-state cars (grey-market cars,before Maserati made US-legal cars). Each Maserati was immaculate underneath and under the hood. Each odometer read between 7502 and 7509 miles. Anonymous on 9/4/2009 11:03:29 AM
There are federal emissions and safety regulations that apply to every motor vehicle and these have been modified over time to the present levels. Every automobile manufactured has to meet these standards or it can’t be sold in the US without expensive modifications to bring it into compliance. Safety regulations are universal and that’s a good thing, but emissions regulations can vary quite a bit from state to state. That is not a problem for consumers, however, since you can’t go to any local dealership and buy a new vehicle that isn’t in compliance with the laws where you live. The problem comes when you live in a certain state that has more stringent regulations and you buy a used vehicle from out of state. When it comes time to register the vehicle you find out you can’t do so without spending considerable money having it altered. This has become a nationwide headache in recent years due to the widespread use of the Internet for selling/buying vehicles. There are 13 states that have specific emissions regulations that are more stringent than the federal standards. California is the most notable of these, as the Air Resources Board out there has mandated stricter standards to fight the state’s pollution problems for over 30 years. Over time, twelve other states have created standards that must be met by new and used vehicles in order to be legally registered. Unfortunately, many standards are different from state-to-state and that makes transferring vehicles within the states very difficult. That said, none of the other twelve states has standards more strict than California, so if the vehicle passes there it passes everywhere. Anonymous on 3/20/2009 1:38:02 PM
This is a continuation of above post. So what do you do when you buy a Corvette from Texas and want to bring it to your home in New York State? Well, there are a few things you need to verify before getting yourself into a legal mess, so don’t put down that deposit just yet. If you look at the various tags on modern vehicles you will find one that tells which emissions standards are met. The tag on that Corvette, depending on the model year, might say “California” or “50 state” Compliant, or it might show the various emissions regulation under which its equipment qualifies, such as Tier II, SULEV, ULEV, etc. You need to know what your state’s requirements are and then verify that the vehicle you’re buying meets those requirements. It’s pretty safe to assume that a tag that says “50 state” complaint will qualify, but if it says something else the safest thing to do is to copy the VIN # and go to your state’s air quality office. They can run the VIN# and verify whether it qualifies or not before you buy, thus saving you a lot of hassle. How much hassle is there? Well, these days the average cost for making a vehicle emissions-legal is well over $3000! Depending upon the engine configuration the costs might go much higher, even to the extent that the vehicle can’t be registered. The states that have adopted California's standards (or close to them) are: Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania; Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. The rest of the east coast states are actively considering adoption of the California standards, as are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia and Colorado. Anonymous on 3/20/2009 1:37:41 PM

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