Breaking News: TDEC Vehicle Emissions Testing Halted


(NASHVILLE, TN) – Due to the novel coronavirus the emissions testing mandate has been placed on hold.

Governor Bill Lee issued executive order number 15 on March 19th that extends motor vehicle registrations that expire between March 12th 2020 to May 18th 2020. The new expiration date, for registrations that expired between those two dates, is now June 15th. Therefore the requirements  for vehicle emissions testing are suspended until further notice. The Division of Air Pollution Control will update this notice with details as to when vehicle emissions testing will resume in the near future. The Division of Air Pollution Control will work to ensure that testing services are available in enough time for vehicles to be tested prior to the extended registration due dates. Please call 1-866-329-9632 with any questions.

Two years ago a bill that would end the oppressive vehicle emissions testing in Rutherford, Hamilton, Davidson, Wilson, Williamson and Sumner counties was introduced.

SB2656/HB1782 by State Sens. Bo Watson, R-Hixson; Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga; and Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, filed the bill.

The legislation seeked to authorize counties that have met the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards on air pollution to do away with emissions testing as long as they are “in attainment.” The legislation passed both chambers.

The vehicle emissions tests are required to register or renew vehicles in Tennessee.

The emissions test resulted from the Federal Clean Air Act in 1990 requiring Tennessee to reduce air pollution from vehicles.

SB2656/HB1782- “Motor Vehicles – As enacted, subject to certain federal approval, abolishes certain vehicle inspection and maintenance programs to maintain compliance with national ambient air quality standards and enacts related provisions. – Amends TCA Title 55 and Title 68.”

Chattanooga where all three lawmakers are close proximity to was once known as the “dirtiest city in America,” Chattanooga’s air quality didn’t meet the standards of the Federal Clean Air Act. Hamilton County’s solution was required emissions testing starting in 2005.

“Why do you pass laws that punish us hard-working people?” said Rep. Mike Carter. “To you, it’s a nuisance, but to me, it’s a change in my business.”


The bill sponsors say that emissions testing is no longer needed after the state is now officially compliant with federal air quality health standards.

Emissions fees cost drivers in affected counties $9 each year. The required testing often cost Tennesseans, many who are poor hundreds of dollars to have their vehicle come into compliance due to the expensive repairs

Sen. Todd Gardenhire agrees that the testing should be eliminated.

Representatives Mike Sparks, Clark Boyd, Tim Rudd, Bryan Terry, and others stand in the Tennessee house chambers as Chairman Mike Carter presents the bill.

“This is a tax on the poorest of the poor that need to drive a car,” said Gardenhire, “It may not be the nicest car, but it may be a car they need to drive.”

State Senator Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga

In the past two years, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) reported the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the state as having achieved “full attainment” compliance for particle pollution and smog standards.

For more information visit Tennessee Department of Enviroment & Conservation website at