California SMOG Test

A few weeks ago I received a notice that it was time to renew my car registration and when I opened the envelop, I discovered that I needed to have a smog test done.  My general understanding of the program was that if you live In California it is required to have a smog test done on your vehicle every 2 years by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or they won’t allow you to renew your registration.

I decided to learn more about the program and discovered that in about 18 counties you are not required to have the smog test done and in six counties, you only have to do it if you live in some specific zip codes.  I was amazed at this.  To think that the government put into place a program to keep the air clean and then limit it to specific areas of the state, or zip codes, doesn’t seem to make sense to me.  I don’t believe that drivers are restricted to only driving in the county that they live in or even specific zip codes.  Further, that there are some imaginary ‘walls’ around counties to prevent the SMOG from crossing county or zip code lines.

The purpose of the smog testing program is to make sure drivers keep their cars and trucks in good working order, so that they don’t put any unnecessary pollutants into the environment.  In general, I am ok with this.  I think it is important to have clean air.  I think that too many drivers would delay or not fix their cars if they were not forced to do so.  Keeping the environment and air clean is an important role for government.

However, I do not feel that excluding 18 counties and parts of 6 others makes any absolutely no sense.  We don’t restrict where people can drive.  We don’t limit have any imaginary walls.  Like most government laws and regulations, there always seems to be exceptions for special groups.  I am fairly confident that if I were to go back to when the program was enacted, state politicians from those areas demanded that there was no smog problem in their counties, so that they shouldn’t have to be unfairly penalized.

The State of California really needs to go back and reevaluate this program to make it more fair and equitable.  If the smog test program removes pollutants from the air in some areas, it should be put into place across the state.


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