Emission Checks – Who Needs Them?

Dear Tracy,

I recently moved to Harrison, Ohio, from Kentucky, and was wondering about automobile emission testing. My neighbor told me that it is not necessary in Ohio, but I have a cousin in Cleveland who insists that it is. How do I know who is right? I tried looking online, but there are a lot of websites with information out there, and I am not sure which site is the right one for official information. Also, I was wondering why some states require emission testing, and some don’t. Kentucky did not require an emissions test.

Lauren B.

Dear Lauren,

When moving to a new state, it is a good idea to get familiar with the vehicle and licensing requirements right away, so you are not caught off guard when your current license expires. Finding information online can be a bit of a challenge because a number of websites have popped up with official sounding names that are actually trying to sell you something – usually insurance. If you want up-to-date information, look in your search results for a “.gov” website. That should be the real deal and give you current requirements.

As an Ohio resident, a great resource for you will be the new resident section of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website. You will find a lot of helpful information here, including whether or not you need an emissions check. Ohio is a state that is divided in terms of emission testing – some counties require it, and some do not. Your cousin, in Cleveland, is a resident of Cuyahoga County, and therefore needs an emission test. Since you and your neighbor are in Harrison, you are residents of Hamilton County, and do not need one.

The reason requirements are different from state to state, and even county to county, is because the decision to require testing is made on a state level. While the path leading to vehicle emissions testing began with federal legislation, the Clean Air Act of 1970, the standards set by that legislation are being met in more and more areas, due to factors like improvements in automotive technology and fuel efficiency. If an area meets EPA requirements, the state may determine emission testing is unnecessary.