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Attempts to waive smog checks for some older vehicles have failed

Q. I am reading that Assembly Bill 2225 recently passed. True? As I understand it, this makes classic cars more than 25 years old registered with Historic Vehicle license plates exempt from smog checks. I think this would benefit many classic car owners. I have a 1976 Triumph TR6 and have put less than 5,000 miles on it in the last three years. These cars are used for car shows, car club events, etc., and are not daily drivers. They must be currently registered.

– Mike Folks, Long Beach 

A. That bill, authored by Assemblyman Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, was similar to other such efforts to loosen up the smog requirements for older vehicles. It died back in the 2019-20 session – not getting far in the California Legislature.

Twenty or so years ago, there was a rolling exemption that would have helped you, Mike: Vehicles at least 30 years old didn’t need a smog check. But lawmakers, worried these senior citizens might spew out too much pollution if left unchecked, voted to clamp down, and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed and signed a bill into law.

Now, the exemption is locked into a particular year that doesn’t change.

Smog checks are a must “for gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles that are model-year 1976 and newer,” Renee Santos, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, told Honk in an email.

So, Mike, your Triumph just missed the cut off.

There are exceptions, Santos noted. For example, newer vehicles don’t need smog checks and neither do motorcycles and, of course, electric vehicles.

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