If you live in Maricopa and for the first time received notice on your vehicle registration that an emissions test is required, you are not alone.

Since January, social media posts from worried Maricopans on the issue have become common: “I could not renew my registration on line like I normally do because of the emissions test… I had to fill out a form and take it to the MVD… I had to get an emissions test for the first time ever as well. I couldn’t renew my registration unless I got it done… first time in 11 years… It’s confusing and leads to the majority of people paying for emissions testing unnecessarily.”

You also may not have to get an emissions test. Arizona Department of Transportation sends out the notices as a condition of registering vehicles in Zone A or Zone B, which are primarily Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. It’s a two-department effort, as emissions standards are determined by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

“These are nonattainment areas for emissions related pollutants and include parts of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties,” Erin Jordan, spokesperson for ADEQ. “ADOT says vehicle owners may be receiving these messages since part of Pinal County is in Zone A.”

“Nonattainment areas” are where air pollution levels have not met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

ADEQ expanded Zone A in the Phoenix metro area into northeast Pinal County, but not Maricopa.

“ADOT is currently improving their notification system to reduce the chance of vehicle owners outside Zone A, such as those in the City of Maricopa, from receiving a message,” Jordan said.

Vehicles registered outside area A and B are not required to have an Arizona vehicle emissions inspection, according to ADOT. However, ADEQ’s exemption application states, “If you live within either of the mandatory vehicle emissions test areas in Arizona, or if you commute into these areas on a regular basis for work or school, you must have your vehicle emission tested.”

While ADOT fixes its notification system, residents can check whether they are in Zone A and need emissions testing on their vehicle by visiting GISWeb.AZDEQ.gov/arcgis/veiareas. ADEQ performs the emissions testing.
“If a vehicle does not need emissions testing based on where they live, ADOT can place an SC52 on the vehicle record so that future renewal notices will not require emissions,” Jordan said.

Make that request at MVDconstituent@azdot.gov.

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