Bay Area Smog Check Program
Governor Signs Bill for Bay Area Smog Check II Program Spurring El Dorado County Adoption
In an effort to reduce the air quality impacts associated with the Bay Area’s 3.5 million cars, Governor Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2637 on September 27, 2002 mandating the Bay Area’s adoption of the Smog Check II Program. Distinguishing features of the Smog Check II Program include testing on a treadmill-like device (dynamometer) that allows measurement of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions, and in designated “Urbanized Areas”, a smog check which may require testing at specific “Test-Only” stations. Based on the Census 2000 data, the “Urbanized Area” will include El Dorado Hills and possibly areas of Cameron Park.
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors conditionally adopted the Smog Check II Program for the County’s western slope only upon official program adoption throughout the Bay Area. Smog Check II with dynamometer testing will be implemented in the following County zip codes: 95619 (Diamond Springs); 95667 (Placerville); 95672 (Rescue); 95682 (Cameron Park, Shingle Springs, and Latrobe); 95709 (Camino); and 95726 (Pollock Pines). El Dorado Hills (95672) may require a Smog Check at a “Test-Only” Station. The existing smog check program will continue in all other areas of the County. Based on a State analysis of the County, the incremental cost is approximately $10 per vehicle. Existing smog check facilities within the County may need to upgrade their equipment to meet new certification requirements. Depending on the equipment modification the cost will range between $30,000 to $40,000.
In August of 2000 the American Lung Association issued El Dorado County and 33 other California Counties, an “F” for air quality and assigned a number of Bay Area counties an “A”. A primary source of El Dorado County’s poor air quality is wind transport from west to east accelerating the movement of pollutants from the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley. The California Air Resources Board has estimated that implementation of the Smog Check II Program in the Bay Area will result in an estimated emission reduction of up to 11 tons Reactive Organic Gases and 13 tons of NOx per day.
Smog Check II Program measures Carbon Monoxide (CO) and other pollutants that cause ozone: Hydrocarbons (HC) and (NOx), whereas the previous smog check program measured only HC and CO. Hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles are created by exhaust from the tailpipe, evaporative emissions from faulty gas caps, and from fuel system leaks. HC and NOx also react with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form inhalable particulate matter. Both of these pollutants cause or exacerbate lung disease. Implementation of the Smog Check II Program is an important strategy to protect public health through air quality improvement by reducing vehicle emissions.