You may have already had your final emissions test in Washington state. As of January 1, 2020, the test will no longer be required to renew vehicle registration.
The emissions program is ending based on a plan passed in the state Legislature in 2005. The Washington Department of Ecology had projected that Washington's air quality would improve enough by 2020 to end the program, which started in 1982.
Five counties require emissions testing: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane.
The Ecology department said the 38-year emissions program was successful and their projections remain on track, with all of Washington state now meeting federal air quality standards. The department said, "We believe air quality will continue to improve in the years ahead as newer, cleaner vehicles replace older, less-efficient models."
Last year, approximately 750,000 vehicles required testing. That was down from 1.2 million a few years prior.
The failure rate for first-time tests in 2018 was about 13 percent, according to Ecology spokesperson Andy Wineke. About 4 percent of vehicles that returned for a second test failed.
It's been a "shrinking pool," Wineke said.
Environmental groups point out that the reason cars are cleaner today is because of stricter federal standards, and they worry the Trump administration will roll back those standards.
If your vehicle is scheduled for testing in 2019, you'll still need to pass the test before renewing your tabs this year.
Ending the program also means cutting jobs. Private contractor Applus runs the test stations that will be shut down when the program ends.
In total, 140 employees will be impacted; 130 work for Applus and the other 10 are state employees. Wineke said, "Applus is working with their staff, and we at Ecology are working with our staff, to try to provide other opportunities where possible. We do, of course, need people to continue operating and administering the program until it ends."