The Dark, Stupid Side Of California
The Not So Golden State

Over the years, myself and other Speedhunters have written countless times about how great the state of California is for car culture. And for the most part it’s true.

Here in the Golden State we’ve got some of the best driving roads in the world, plenty of race tracks to use, and a climate that allows us to enjoy the automotive hobby all year round. And that same mild climate means that cars last a lot longer here than they do in other parts of the United States.


The events? The builders? The cool cars? Yeah, we’ve got them. But the Golden State is by no means a heaven for car lovers. In fact, some might even say it’s hell. Because for as important as the automobile has been to the state, California is a notoriously unfriendly place for car lovers when it comes to legislation and emissions laws.


With so many vehicles plying the roads of the state, air pollution has long been a problem in California. Thus, we have the California Air Resources Board or CARB – a regulatory agency set up with the goal of overseeing air quality.


Most reasonable people would agree that having cleaner air is a good thing, but if you are an automotive hobbyist in California, CARB is basically a four-letter word. Its policies often seem more designed to give car enthusiasts and the aftermarket industry headaches rather than to make any actual improvement in air quality.


There are any number of complaints you could raise about how CARB, the Bureau of Automotive Repairs, and the Department of Motor Vehicles operate, but my biggest beef is with the state’s difficult and rigid emissions laws. If you didn’t know, every 1976 and newer vehicle in the state is subject to a biannual smog check that not only monitors the emissions from the tail pipe, but also any modifications or alterations made to the engine, regardless of whether they actually increase emissions or not. Fail the test and you simply can’t register your car.


Why is the cut-off year 1976? No reason at all. For a short time California had a rolling exemption for cars 30 years and older, which meant as cars got older (and rarer) they would become exempt from the tests. But I guess that made too much sense. Because of these laws, countless vintage vehicles that were in otherwise good shape have been sent straight to the junkyard.


There have been attempts to reinstate the rolling exemption or even just push up the cut-off, but so far the state’s lawmakers just aren’t having it. This is despite evidence showing that older vehicles are primarily enthusiast-owned and have a minuscule impact on air quality as a whole. I guess they just don’t want to look ‘soft’ on the environment issue?


The United States has a rule that allows you to import vehicles 25 years and older, and recently that’s meant an influx of R32 Skylines and other JDM machinery onto American roads. But all of that is basically a no-go in California. Want to register your federally-legal Skyline in California? Good luck.


Imported vehicles must adhere to a set of CARB standards completely separate from federal rules, and in most cases that makes the registration process too costly and too complicated for all but the most dedicated and deep-pocketed of enthusiasts. So for now we just watch our friends from neighboring states drive their cool imported vehicles with envy.


It’s the same story with domestic machinery. Want to pull the tired carbureted motor out of your old F-Body and replace it with a modern, much more fuel efficient LS V8? It can certainly be done, but the process of making it CARB-legal makes the swap about 10 times more complicated and much more expensive than it would be in other states. And for what actual effect on emissions and air quality?


And that’s my biggest complaint. I completely support initiatives that genuinely have an actual impact on air quality and the environment, but all of this feels so unnecessary. Even with California’s nice climate, the number of old cars being driven every day is quite small.


On the same hand, it’s completely legal to go buy a big diesel truck and drive it 30,000 miles across the state every year. But legally upgrading the motor in your weekend project car can be damn near impossible. Chances are, most people looking to bring in a Nissan Skyline aren’t going to use it as their commuter car, so why should it be subject to the same standards?


While it doesn’t sound like things are going to change anytime soon for us here in California, it doesn’t seem like it’d be terribly hard to solve this and make everyone happy.

The Solution?

If I was in control, I’d propose something along the lines of this: if you own a car that’s say 25 years or older, then you have the option to register it as a hobby or enthusiast vehicle. You pay a fee each year – maybe a few hundred bucks on top of your normal registration fees – and you can’t drive your car more than say 5,000 miles annually. But in return you are exempt from emissions testing and other CARB regulations.


There could also be a more reasonable importation fee for these enthusiast vehicles. Even at something like a flat rate of a thousand bucks, I think most people would be more than willing to write a check and avoid the hassle, and the state would likely make a lot of money off all the newly imported enthusiast cars.


Fixing up an old car to use on weekends or importing something cool to take to car shows? Register it as an enthusiast vehicle and you are good to go. The state would get extra money that could be invested into actually helping air quality, and maybe CARB employees could do something more important than deciding what kind of intake tube is legal on an LS swap. And perhaps best of all for us car enthusiasts, we wouldn’t feel like an enemy of the place we’re paying our taxes to.


For those of you that also live in California I would say something about contacting your local representatives, but people and organizations with far more influence than myself have been trying to make things better for car enthusiasts without much luck.


And for those that that don’t live in California, a lot of this might not apply to you. But there’s no reason governments all over the world shouldn’t be able to treat tax-paying, law-abiding auto enthusiasts with respect. We all know that keeping an old car nicely maintained can be much better for the environment than junking it and buying a new one.


Yeah, it’s unlikely that something as reasonable as this could ever become a reality, but it’s fun to think about at least. For now all we can do is dream that some day the California government’s attitude toward auto enthusiasts will match the other good things about this state.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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Sounds like a real pain. They scrapped the annual "Air Care" test here in British Columbia a couple years back after a 22 year run. Determined there was a 90% decrease in vehicle emissions mostly based on newer vehicles having better anti-pollution controls. And almost no one failed any more. 

They never lifted your hood though, and you only had to meet emissions standards for the year of manufacture for your car. So that LS swap is/was an easy pass.


Funny, I just wrote SEMA asking if they are working with CARB to revise their regulations on 25+ year old knowing that they are more powerful than my one voice and perhaps already have something in the works. I hit "send", jumped over here, and read this article. I could not agree with this article more. Just as I told SEMA, I'm happy to help any way I can to get some of these laws changed.


OH MY GOD YES. THIS IS THE STRUGGLE I FACE. as much as i love living in california and feel somewhat spoiled by it, it sucks how where cars on the east coast can drive with all kinds of cool mods, california is stuck with performance cars that have been choked because of fucking "CARB standards" and there are always parts that say that they're not 50 state legal. like my fucking ass.we breathe the same air as any other typical american. stop trying to restrict the hobby that we enjoy as a daily thing. CARB, stop trying to make it a pain in the ass for enthusiasts and nonethusiasts alike to enjoy cars.


Check what we deal with up here in Quebec Canada. The laws are ridiculous. No.emissions tests but basically if you drive a modified car they treat you like a criminal and hitnu with a 24 hour inspection. If you dont pass byebye car unless put back to stock or you find a place that still takes some "monatary convincing"


Check out this bill:
California - SB 1239 - 2016


My favorite part is that people in other states couldn't give a crap about what's going on here in California. Word through the grapevine (SEMA) is, other states are looking to adopt the same laws as California. I guess the joke is on all those people who figured it didn't concern them, isn't it?


C.A.R.B. = revenue.

Plain and simple. When your state government is hurting for that much cash - you squeeze everyone/everything you can.

Glad I live in a mostly car friendly state.


I sort of have the opposite situation. I live in michigan where the car scene sucks, weather sucks, roads suck, and there are not many tracks. However there are no regulations what so ever. You could probably drive a nascar down the road if it had a plate.


kaj750 haha its basically karma. they don't realize how strict and unfair california's emission laws are, and then they have them imposed. basically they suffer like us.


This is why VW cheated.


Preach on brotha!!!!!


Here in Australia we can't swap in an engine that is not from the same manufacturer. Say I want to put a rotary in my Celica. Not gonna happen. What if I want to LS swap a Silvia? Not happening. But I can put a 1JZ into my Celica and it's still road legal but put in another motor from another company... You will never be able to get it across the pits, no matter the quality of the build/swap. Sucks so much. And then you get our modification laws! Geez don't even get me started on those. If you want a static slammed car as soon as you get pulled over you will either get Yellow or Red stickered (Yellow being you can't drive the car until you fix the issue, Red means you cannot drive this car at all.I think...) Bloody sucks. All you guys in America and Japan can pretty much do what you want with your cars, here we can't do anything. :(


Hahaha... Even in California those Betas will still rust.


Reading this as a German made me chuckle. In my country, every single modification needs to be checked by an official service station. For this, you need a certificate of authenticity, issued by the so called TÜV. Only products tested in Germany will have a chance to legally get onto your car. This also means, as products go through the testing process, that they will get a lot more expensive and in addition, you will have to pay 40-300€ (depending on the part) for almost every modification to make it legal.
Parts from Japan? Nope. America? Nope. You ain´t got the official paperwork. You can´t even put cheap exaust tips on your car without someone official complain about it.
The bottom line is: if there´s something on your car not registered, you will lose the complete operating permit of the car. Oh and don´t get me started on engine mods or even swaps...


Haydos.W Completely wrong on the engine swap thing bud.


Haydos.W I think it's factory optioned engine without getting a engineer's certificate.


"Yeah, it’s unlikely that something as reasonable as this could ever become a reality"

BUT IT CAN! California is a ballot measure state. We can write our own laws, then vote them into existence. We can create this registration class. Well you guys can. I'm no longer a California resident. I left to open a business importing Japanese cars. My taxes and dealer license fees now go to another state because of these laws. All you need to do is write the law (there is help available), get enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, then vote it into existence. The vote it into existence part is where it starts to take money. Convincing people to vote for something can be expensive. I think it is something we could get many celebrity car guys to rally around. A few ads with some well loved characters, some families talking about tradition and values and how the car hobby helps pass that on to their kids...

 I've thrown this one out a few times, and people think I'm crazy. As I was reading the article I hopes that was where you were going. It would take a huge initiative, and money, but it's possible. In my version of the plan, you divert the extra money from the collector vehicle registration to the state park system. Allot it to the maintenance of state park facilities. State parks happen to have some of the best driving roads in the state. Win-win! When it comes to ballot measures, I think the most important box is the 'fiscal impact' one. Does it cost me the voter money? Do I get anything for that money? In this case you get something for your money, or it doesn't cost you anything, and you still get something! The fiscal impact box on the ballot explains how it increases park funding without raising taxes. Voters that don't care about our cars could still vote for the measure just for that reason.


There was a ballot measure the hearing was May 95th it was called s.b. 1239 I believe made it so that any car before 1981 was smog exempt as long as you can prove its insured as a collecter vehicle but it didn't pass as always


When I looked at the status. It showed pass? 6 yeses and 0 no's?


In most of europe in order to regirster your car you must pass a tehnical inspection. In order to pass you have to pass ECO test or emissions test  and car must be rust free among others things they test and check. Fail on that and you are not road legal and that goes for all vehicles cars, pickups, vans, buses, trucks, all. And every modification must be certified by goverment agency. You dont meet any of that and you are ilegal.


i think that as long as the emissions that come out of the tailpipe are lower than when the car was manufactured it shouldn't matter what is under the hood


@DM91 Nope. In europe, he have a big diesel war and he have a lot of think to claim at all the people "come on, the diesel it's clean!" but it's totally wrong, all of car manufactures cheat her diesel engine for this fu***** money !
The problem with diesel gas it's the sanitary polution for the people.


Miguelcarranza That's not a ballot measure. That is a Senate Bill. That is legislation created and voted on by the California Senate. A ballot measure or proposition is a process in which an ordinary citizen can craft legislation, and have it voted on by all Californians during an election. Basically, you get to bypass all the elected officials, and write your own law. So long as you can get a majority of Californians to go with it.

S.B 1239 has passed initial committees, but is currently at a point in the process where it could continue, or it could just sit and die.


@Monsterinkford101 Yep, passed committee, but at a point in the process where it could still die.


Haydos.W I am swapping an LS3 into a Toyota 86 and it will be engineered and legal in the nanny state of all places (NSW). There are some considerations but all in all things aren't too bad for Aussies. Just a lot of reading :D


Mad Panda Garage Haydos.W Nice one Ben MPG


zbelic According to the spanish technical inspection my car isn't safe to drive and therefore illegal because the button that regulates headlights intensity doesn't work. Everything else works, and it's only 17 yo


Must just be WA then... Or I'm completely wrong and everyone should ignore my huge rant U0001f642

Trevor Coulston

Mike Garrett 2020!!!


Trevor Coulston Garrett/Charvonia 2020. Make America's car culture great again. You can count on my vote.


rv_zenki kinda the same deal here in Virginia except the weather is a little better but the roads and car scene are so-so.  We do have annual state inspections but that just means your car needs to be "legit" for a day.  After that you can pretty much go berzerk: slammed cars, engine swaps, boost, you name it.


This is a tricky one.
 How many of you have been in China recently?  It is downright
depressing over there.  Every time I get off the plane after a trip, I
want to hug emission control regulators.  The air here smells good, you
can see through it, and I don’t feel like I just smoked a pack.  So, as
much as I complain about getting my 77 Datsun through emissions up here in
Oregon, I truly appreciate the attention that our environment gets.  Yeah,
I only drive my old car a few thousand miles a year, and yeah, it’s a fraction
of a fraction of a fraction of any emissions, but we have to acknowledge the
awareness these restrictions raise.  It forces us to pay more attention to
our environment, and I dig that.Maybe I am just a Datsun lovin hippie.


aportlandsummer Very valild point. I think we take our clean air for granted sometimes.

Omer (beercoozie)

yeah, i agree. the "rollin' coal" bro-dozers don't face nearly the hurdles that someone wanting to do an engine swap like you descibed face. and the bro-dozers put more crap in the air.


aportlandsummer But factories were the main reason instead of Chinese people use a lot more public transportation to avoid traffic jam and parking problems in big cities.


aportlandsummer Or take a look at the photos of LA from the '60's. Personally, I'm glad I can at least enjoy commuting with my top down while stuck on the 405. I absolutely believe CARB is necessary in California. Most people don't realize CARB was created before the EPA since the air quality in CA's cities was so poor.

The problem is the overzealous application of regulations. If the target is air quality, why can't we just make the cars pass a sniffer test? Why are we trying to regulate such a small group of polluters? Emissions controls on new cars accomplish our goals of reducing the emissions output of our vehicle fleet as a whole. We're wasting time, energy, and state money on regulating something that has little chance of having a large impact. We're also losing state money to out of state registrations. The regs don't keep people from having their cars here. It just means we don't get to collect the registration fees and taxes. They register the vehicle out of state, and drive it here anyway. Let's give them the means to be legal.

I've been in the situation of owning a car that would cost more than the value of the vehicle to bring into compliance in California. That car has the exact same engine as vehicles sold in California. It's also rare, somewhat historically significant, and draws a crown at every show I've taken it to in CA. It's not in California anymore...nor is my business or tax dollars. It sucks, over regulation has no impact on the environment but a very real impact to the population of CA. So basically, I have a love hate relationship with CARB.


'75 is the actual cut-off year, not '76. The reason is easy to figure out. Emissions equipment (catalytic converters) laws started in '76, so cars before that won't have any emissions equipment.

Dimitry Mochkin

That and people who cut off catalytics because "5 horsepower bro". They don't realize that every new car with no cat on, every new brotruck rolling coal is making sure that in 10 years any car modification will be illegal worldwide.


BirdHasACamera Great points.  I
totally agree that the blanket regulations can be applied thoughtlessly.  You
are right; if the goal is generate revenue, they are failing because they are
driving revenue streams out of state.  If the goal is air quality, they
could certainly apply the resources to larger offenders, rather than the small
population of old car fans.  I was just tossing out thoughts on the love
part of the love/hate relationship.  I am very spoiled, I reckon.  I
only need to pass a visual and a sniffer test.  So, I get the clean air
and reasonable emissions expectations.


That Evo 6 looks really nice. Sad to think that come the time they're legal to import that there won't be many imported and enjoyed


bhop73 That is completely wrong in absolutely every way.

Many vehicles made before 1976 had emissions controls, and the first pollution control legislation (outside California) was the Clean Air Act of 1963. California actually introduced legislation before that. That is part of the reason California is the only state that can create regulations for automobiles harsher than those imposed by the EPA. 

No need to "figure out" anything.


aportlandsummer BirdHasACamera I got a bit wordy...I was trying to agree with you. :) I don't want to live in a polluted world. But I think there is a balance.


EvolveWRC zbelic As a Spanish citizen and as a car lover who has traveled quite a bit, I can only say that the Spanish ITV is much worse than Caluifornia's CARB. No matter what you do to your car in Spain, and despite making it safer or more enviromentally friendly, they will always give you a hard time, unless your car is strictly stock. Fortunately, in countries like Germany with the TÜV, their agencies work a little better.

turbo BEAMS ae86

emission law = rubbish


BirdHasACamera bhop73 '75 was the year that the EPA mandated ALL vehicles sold have catalytic converters. "Many" doesn't include all, and if all aren't included, you can't have tests that cover everyone. 

Am I wrong? Maybe, but i'm just using logic. I still think i'm right, and i've found a few forum posts from other people that have the same thoughts as me, but I can't find official documentation.


bhop73 Yeah, that's why I said "1976 and newer". The cut-off used to be 1973 and it moved up a couple years under the rolling system but when that repealed and it's been stuck at '75 and earlier.


BirdHasACamera aportlandsummer I agree. Clean air is nice, but like you said enthusiast and classic vehicles have such a little impact on the air quality that it's impossible to see how regulating them has any positive impact.


Bridges Trevor Coulston Haha!


Mike Garrett bhop73 Gotcha, I think I misread the text.


lmoore0310 Kinda makes sense doesn't it?


MiguelGarralda EvolveWRC zbelic It's a shame. Not sure what these agencies are trying to gain.


@Max Doesn't sound fun at all.


rv_zenki Nowhere is perfect I guess...


theAngryMarmot I understand the revenue part actually. The dumb thing is most of us wouldn't mind paying a reasonable fee to avoid the hassle of not being able to enjoy our cars.


bhop73 BirdHasACamera Incorrect. Quite a few cars sold after '75 were sold without catalytic converters but had some sort of emission control system. My '77 320i has a thermal reactor but no cat. The problem is, the thermal reactor hasn't been made in over 30 years and is only on California cars sold between '77 and '79. If I wanted to rip it off and install a catalytic converter (which I really really want to do) I can't because it won't pass the visual inspection even though it will reduce emissions.


Would love if they just rolled the 30 years again.  My 1984 Mustang SVO is a royal PITA to smog.  I drive it less than 1000 miles per year.


KeyboardWarriorNo1758395  Wow makes me want to move there!
What about imports, are there any other big problems for petrolheads in BC? What is traffic police like, is it easy to lose licence?
What is living there like?

I am just searching for petrolehead friendly country to move in after I finish engineering school, your description sounds interesting...


bhop73 BirdHasACamera Yes, you are wrong. Completely wrong. As in everything you stated is incorrect. Not factually accurate. Wrong. The opposite of correct.

All of this information is on the internet. Not on forums though. You'll find our laws on government run websites. They will usually end in .gov. The best place to get information is always the source. 

You don't 'use logic' to figure out how laws work. You read them.


The emissions test is only the same as here in England where the car gets tested every year to make sure its within the tolerance of manufacturers emissions set for that size engine of car. Can't you just fit the CAT's as and when needed for the CARB test like we can do here in the UK?


Can you show me a link? I've googled and can't seem to find it. Not saying I don't believe you, I just would like to read it for my own knowledge bank.



Most all of our environmental regulations can be found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


SeanStott thats why i have my svo in florida. my last one was a bitch to pass when i lived in Tenn.


@Max Yep, a lot of that control was born of the German automobile industry being scared by the performance and quality of Japanese cars at more than competitive prices, and the highly developed aftermarket scene they had going.  Ever since the rebuilding of the German automobile industry after WW2, they've sought total control over everything.


I reckon theirs are a lot stricter than ours, we got friendly MOT testers too U0001f60b
Well , I have Anyways,


Here is the California dilemma. Most carbureted cars '76 and newer will not pass, no way, no how. The factory parts are not made, and are all gone. Substitute with a functional equivalent or better, and it fails the visual test. The testing stations have surveillance cameras and automatic downloads of all readings. The testing stations will not jeopardize their livelihoods, or worse, to look the other way and let someone pass through. Catch-22.
I wonder if the car manufacturers are somehow involved. Fewer older cars pass = more new car sales over time.


I vote Mike Garett for our new governor!


You have to come over to Switzerland. We have the same control as the Germans, only a bit more Cracy. Engine swaps, absolutly no way. Engine swap from the same Manufacturer but another car, no way. Some little engine modification with your own parts, absolutly pain. You cant do anything without a DTC certification (Dynamic Test Center) and then you have to go thru the MFK (Motorfahrzeugkontrolle) Vehicle control Agency. Every single part have to checking by law.


Get a mate in a emissions friendly / non (easy) testing state, register your car there, drive it in Cali, Profit......

or is it not that simple??


In France,where street legal aftermarket parts don't exist(any modification is illegal) we also have an emission test.But nobody gives a shit so they cheat. You just have to act "friendly" with the guy who do the test
The only thing that is great is that we can easily import cars from the USA,Japan or every country in Europe(most cars reach our standards)


The only thing I can say is: F.U.C.K governments ! I hate them all, they're just fat pigs.


I'm just happy to see not one but two cars with Nismo LMGT1's!


I wholeheartedly agree with... most of what's said here (5k mile enthusiast limit is kinda low; I like to drive my cars, not keep garage queens), but this governmental mentality is far from being limited to California and far from being limited to automobile laws. Cali's laws are bound to reach the rest of the country before long, so it's best to strenghten the fight early on; nip it in the bud.
I work for a national retail chain, and even for something as menial as stocking groceries there are frustrating rules being created all the time because someone behind a desk somewhere thinks it'll help without any sort of trial research. It seems to me that there are too many people that think they can go straight from their textbooks in business management school to managing a business and a job they've never worked, and start pumping out regulations they think will streamline. Meanwhile, people that have been doing the job well for years are getting slowed down and expected to do more. It's the same principles in the automotive world. Too many people are getting paid to solve problems that don't exist, and never would.
The context was different for this quote from Michael Crichton, but I feel it very much applies here: "The current near-hysterical preoccupation with safety is at best a waste of resources and a crimp on the human spirit, and at worst an invitation to totalitarianism. Public education is desperately needed."


People do that. You just need an address in that other state to pull it off.


Actually, no, I think that quote was about global warming, lol. Author's note at the end of State of Fear.


Funny how Cali has the dumbest laws, yet is arguably the biggest source for car culture in the country. In my state (Louisiana), no inspection places even bother with emissions tests; the only modification cops are concerned with is window tint.


I think second-gen Evos actually are on the DOT's list of legal under-25 cars. There are quite a few in the country. I know certain years of R33 are legal, as well as the DC5 Integra Type-R.


So timely just passing my 95 240sx in California. Soon as I brought it in, the technician sneered as he said "95". Failed the

first time until I fixed some exhaust leaks, but what a stressful experience every two years for older car owners!


Really not that big of an issue then, is it. "work smart, not hard" Springs to mind......

Gianluca FairladyZ

@vw amarok  i know! i live here! hehe! This is our Mafia! They make a lot lot lot lot money of it!


Sorry to say it like that but it could be worse.

Greets from Switzerland. The country were a emission test cost 3000 CHF = 3000$


@vw amarok The biggest problems are the costs. I wanted a big break kit for my AE86 and ask the DTC how much it would cost to get it legal. The simpel answer was 10'000 CHF maybe more.


Well you do make it look very bad.. come live in Italy a few years. where if you change the tire size on you car you may get it impounded.. Without saying all the other stuff you change and can't.. like exhaust, bodykit, wheels (witch now have to be Nads certificated), air filter etc.. I got so much stuff that if the police stop me I'll call the tow truck myself to get impounded.. when i go through inspection I have to put my oem exhaust back on..and change a few other things, every 2 years.. I think its really not that bad back in Cali after you been somewhere else where all is worse..


hypodermic Back to your original post.. it's not that simple. If/when you get caught, you'll have to pay penalties and depending on the car, it could be impounded.


We have to convince high representatives in power to create a proposal. I feel the people that have tried to contact legislators failed because the lack of support or not enough people are aware about the desire to progress a change. The other option for modifying would be registering for off high way use, but that strictly make it track and there's no fun if you have to pointlessly trailer your car to show it off locally on the streets.


DarrellDjEvoHill Same in Belgium .. but MOT every year :-( ...


CARB is part of the reason why political conservatives and libertarians like myself tend to regard California as Soviet Kalifornistan - a totalitarian state run by politicians and bureaucrats who, though nominally servants of the people, would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, as Milton put it.


Dill Pickle The car culture of California predates the regulatory tsunami, which is probably why it still exists at all.

Remember, guys were hot-rodding straight-six Chevies and flathead Fords for three decades before the whiners discovered they could use Safety and Clean Air as excuses to take people's freedom away from them.


A simple carbon tax/pollution tax would solve all these problems...

… including the fallacy that you cant be both an environmentalist and a car enthusiast.


Beijing referred the California's emission standards and baisically things will be pretty same but more disguisting in my country... Old Mercs won't pass annual tests and can't go on roads...
And we got really severe smogs in my city(Hangzhou,a ralatively smaller one),sometimes visibility is just 50 meters...
Oh crap...
(Most Chinese power plants use coals oh ****,and this is the exact cause of the air problems.)
Things always pretty same on both side of the earth.

90 This is a link for the California emissions inventory from 2013 not current but the only available, It's trying to show that transportation dumped the most GHGs into the atmosphere @37% but this accounts for ALL transport, planes, trains ,tractors trucks witch are fewer than cars. But I think they are in use far more of the time (run day&night 24-7) than automobiles witch go to work sit for 8-10 hrs then do errands then home where sit for another 8-12hrs. Then look at the other side of the pie all other emitters: industry, energy, agriculture, residential and commercial contribute 67%. Twice as much because they also run 24-7 365 and never park for hours. But we bear the brunt of regulation because we have no lobbyists, not enough money to hold sway over politics, and we're not cooperating to make changes WE want instead of letting the political pigs run the country the way They want. I'm not talking about anarchy, just everyone contributing to make the car culture as enjoyable as it can be. Sorry for ranting, this topic bugs me. I like the idea previously posted about special registration and giving to states parks.


There is another layer to the problem. CARB's budget is easily accessible online. CARB has a huge budget that Californians finance directly through taxes and it employs many "officials" who simply don't do anything effective or productive. Where do you think CARB officials' salaries and retirement come from? Our pockets. 

Also CARB makes CA much more business unfriendly to manufacturers/sellers. I do not know how much it costs to certify an aftermarket part but it must be prohibitive to businesses. So take "intake company X." Intake company X could hire Y amount of new employees but because of the expense of CARB certification in CA, it doesn't have the budgetary allotment to hire people who probably could use a job in sales/marketing....whatever area. CARB hurts our economy.

Sorry to make you do algebra on Speedhunters.

The second layer is the one that directly impacts enthusiasts and is hypocritical (the example from the articles where in CA you cannot swap a newer, more fuel efficient engine into your 1976 or newer vehicle). Another point was raised in the main article...enthusiasts just don't add significant pollution/drive that many miles.

Our air quality could be maintained at the very same level if there simply was no under hood inspection. The sniffer test is what produces real, concrete data that is relative to air pollution. Why don't we just keep the sniffer test and you could put a damn thermodiesel gyro baby puppy incinerator under your hood as long as it doesn't pollute more than your previous baseline.


Dutch 1960 Is there literally no way to get factory fuel injection systems (from later engines or later versions of the same) approved for testing?  Shirley this visual test is ridiculous?


Russell R Diesel produces less CO2 but much, much more local pollution in the form of dangerous particulates and CO - governments have been happy to incentivise people to choose diesel cars for cities and towns that has hugely impacted air quality more so than petrols or hybrids.  Historically, petrol ICEs might produce more CO2 overall, but Diesel has a much bigger impact on the air quality in our towns and cities.


I feel spoiled now as a car guy living in a state with no emissions tests after reading comments from others who live in states/countries with strict emissions laws. Here in Alabama we have no annual emissions tests or technical inspections and can more or less modify our vehicles any way we see fit. The only thing they care about here is window tint being too dark. I feel for you guys in Cali. You're just trying to pursue your passion of cars and politicians want to penalize you for it.


CaseyKoelsch **I'm too busy applauding your comment, to type mine**


I live outside of New Orleans and the only place I found that had emissions test that I know of was when I was in Baton Rouge for college. I had to do emissions to get a brake tag and I failed horribly but I was things like not a sealed gas cap and shit like that. I had to drive back home and went through shit to get one because they put a failed tag on my truck in BR.


@vw amarok I completely agree this is a real pain, I live in Switzerland and modify my car little by little, the process is so time consuming because a lot of work goes into researching aftermarket parts with the required certificate. Today I am looking for a way to install bucket seats that comply to the regulations.
Every single modification was a nightmare but as of today, 100% of what has been modified is duly noted on the official documents.
The thing is, you can be compliant all you want, if the inspector doesn't like you, it won't matter in the end.


DarrellDjEvoHill move down here to Naples, seems like you can get away with anything lol


KKKalifornia is definitely hell to own a modded car in the states, with some of the stupidest ass laws in America for sure. but as others have said, its waaayyyyyy worse here in EU. I mean you can just look on forums and the biggest mod people will consider is a new radio and even then it's an argument that stock is better and you'll fail MOT otherwise lol. The grass is always greener...having to put a cat back on or pay a guy to pass you every few years isn't that huge a deal if you look outside the center of the universe, uh i mean california. and yes i have lived there and owned several highly modified cars during


What about registrating your cars in Arizona?


familycar DarrellDjEvoHill  I'm Good here in Pisa.. Been to Naples.. not my kind of city.. no race tracks there.. hahaha Got Mugello an Hour away..


I'm sad I'm late to this convo, this is always a hot topic here in CA. 

My dad actually works for the Bureau of Automotive Repair (and he's where I got my love for automotive culture, funny how that works), and CARB regulation is actually one of the less important "issues" they deal with. It's more so shops that rob uneducated car owners blind that's the issue for the BAR. He actually would agree with most of your points regarding enthusiasts being wrapped up in something that isn't necessarily directed at us. 

There's also been talks about actually moving up the CARB-exempt cutoff date for 95 and older vehicles. It won't be for some time, but due to the low number of pre-95 vehicles still on the road, it is something that's being strongly considered.


with a driver that is very reliable car that can drive very well


the car was very good 
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