Tesla can’t offer Pennsylvania residents state inspections because Tesla doesn’t have emissions testing equipment. In the tweet below by @JeffTutorials, he addressed the silliness of this outdated law and pointed out that these laws are designed to profit legacy automakers. The idea that an electric vehicle has to pass emissions testing may seem silly, but it also helps prove the point that EV advocates are making. These vehicles do not produce greenhouse gases, yet run into odd issues like having to pass emission tests in some places.
So true. Hate having to go somewhere else to get it done. I like to be able to take my Tesla to their services since they are experts to tell if something is wrong or needs maintenance.
— Cynthia Starr Films 🎥 (@cstarrfilms) January 31, 2022
I asked Jeff to share more information about this with me. Jeff told me:
“So in PA, we have a law requiring inspection locations to be able to inspect ANY vehicle, which means Tesla would need to offer inspections for ICE vehicles and purchase emissions testing equipment.”
“People hate it here. We have to trust third-party shops with our vehicles. In most cases, they don’t even know how to properly lift a Tesla.”
“My inspection was done at a sketchy shop in Philly where the guy let me pay him off so he didn’t lift my car or drive it, just give me the sticker. It’s a mess.”
In this 2018 thread in a Tesla Owners Online discussion, it was brought up that Tesla service centers in Pennsylvania were not authorized to be inspection stations. In order to become authorized, Tesla service centers would have to provide services to every type of car, and for emissions testing, that would involve several types of equipment that aren’t required for servicing a Tesla. So residents are stuck going to the dealerships or other third-party services for state inspections.
Update: A reader has pointed out that, “42 of PA 67 counties do not have emissions testing:
“‘Vehicles registered in the 42 counties listed on the right are NOT required to pass an emissions inspection.’
“Also, inspections stations these counties often do not have emissions equipment, so expanding what’s required in 25 counties to say its all of PA (67 counties) seems very disingenuous.”
In July 2021, a Tesla owner shared in the Tesla Motors Club forum that they had to get their brand new Tesla Model 3 inspected and asked for recommendations for a decent place. It’s an odd concept — inspecting a brand new car for the state’s safety inspection, especially a zero-emissions car. In a TMC thread from 2019, the Tesla owner pointed out that they needed to get their cars tested every year for emissions. They wanted to know if their Tesla had to be tested as well, even though their car doesn’t produce emissions. ThrillHouseMD answered:
“Yes. You get one sticker for safety inspection that needs to be renewed every year.”
“Tesla SC can not inspect the vehicle due to PA law requiring inspection locations to be able to inspect ANY vehicle. Which would require emissions testing equipment in most cases, which wouldn’t make sense for obvious reasons.”
“Ask your SC for local recommendations. had my M3 inspected at a Firestone nearby that were very familiar with Tesla cars (They asked me if I had the premium interior to determine who’s clothes were clean enough to drive the car). They didn’t even put it on the lift or remove the wheels. More like a formality…”
They also added that Pennsylvania gives the owners 10 days to get it inspected after delivery. In another response to the original question, Timk225 touched upon the confusion that mechanics at a Dodge dealership had while trying to inspect their Tesla.
“I live in an emissions county. When I got my inspection done at a Dodge dealership I’d been to before, the mechanics had about a 10-minute debate, trying to decide if I would get an emissions exempt sticker, or no sticker aside from the normal safety sticker. They eventually decided on no sticker, so I just have the one safety sticker on the windshield.”
According to the US Department of Energy, battery-electric vehicles are exempt from state motor vehicle emissions testing. The website cited the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Vehicle Emissions Testing Program website, but this has me wondering if EVs, including Teslas, are only exempt in Illinois.
In this thread in the Tesla Motors Club forum, Porter James shared how Texas refused to renew the registration of his Tesla Model 3 without an emissions test. He through some serious hoops along the way. I think that state and federal agencies would do well to read his thread and also consider adjusting these laws to be inclusive of EV owners. By inclusive, I mean using common sense to understand that EVs don’t produce emissions while being driven. There may have been emissions produced as a result of the production of the vehicles, but once those vehicles are in the hands of their customers, they do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, so these tests are pointless for BEVs.
Jeff told me:
“I was thinking. Can’t Tesla purchase those stupid emissions testing machines, and make their prices for state inspection for ICE cars so high that nobody in their right mind would take their ICE to Tesla for inspection? Unless PA also mandates pricing — I don’t know.”
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