Images of 2010: News

In this Hickory Daily Record file photo from 2010, area auto technician Mac Temple performs a test on  the air injection of a Mercedes-Benz while working on the emission system. Emissions testing in some counties in North Carolina, including Burke and Catawba, will no longer be required.

Burke County drivers who have been hoping to pay less for vehicle inspections will have to wait a while longer.

In May, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill that exempted 26 of 48 counties where vehicle emissions testing were required. When car owners have their yearly vehicle inspections , they pay an extra $16.40 for the emissions testing.

The counties now exempt are Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Edgecombe, Granville, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, Orange, Pitt, Robeson, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Wayne, Wilkes and Wilson.

The North Carolina Division of Air Quality submitted a “pre-draft” of the amendments to the State Implementation Plan to federal Environmental Protection Agency for their review on Aug. 17. The EPA didn’t have any comments, according to information from the division. 

On Friday, the state Division of Air Quality finalized the amendments to the State Implementation Plan to the EPA for review and approval. The link to the division’s implementation plan can be found at

The EPA has up to 18 months to review and approve the plan, said Sarah Young, a spokeswoman for the state air quality division. 

“However, we are very hopeful that it will take (EPA) less time than what they are allotted because of our efforts on the front end to get their review of the “pre-draft” plan,” Young said. “We will also ask USEPA to prioritize the review and approval of the amended state plan.” 

 Young said the changes will take effect the first day of a month after 60 days from when officials of the Department of Environmental Quality certify the EPA has approved the amendment to the implementation plan. She said the department will provide a notice, along with the effective date of the action, on its website and by written or electronic notice to emissions inspection mechanics, emissions inspection station licensees and self-inspector licensees in the counties where motor vehicle emissions inspection requirements are removed.

Safety inspections, which cost $13.60 per vehicle, will still be required.

Counties where vehicles will still have to have emissions testing are Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Union and Wake.

Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at or at 828-432-8946.

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