The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is reminding motorists that starting Dec. 1 emissions inspections will no longer be required in 26 additional counties.

In the fall, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a reduction in North Carolina counties required to perform yearly vehicle emissions tests. Starting Dec. 1, this will bring to 78 the total number of counties in North Carolina that will no longer require annual vehicle emissions tests. Fifty-two counties have not required vehicle emissions inspections since 2006.   

The 26 additional counties that will no longer be required to conduct emissions tests include: Brunswick, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Edgecombe, Granville, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, Orange, Pitt, Robeson, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Wayne, Wilkes, and Wilson.

The approval was a result of the passage of Senate Bill 131 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017) by the General Assembly during the 2017 long session. Details of the plan can be found on the NCDEQ website. 

By law, a motor vehicle must pass an annual safety inspection before it can be registered in North Carolina or the registration can be renewed. All North Carolina counties will still require the safety inspection.  

Also after Dec. 1, emissions inspections will still be required in 22 North Carolina counties. Those include Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Union and Wake counties. 

There are three options available to customers who reside in one of the 26 counties no longer requiring emissions inspections and who have failed emissions inspections prior to Dec. 1. Those options include: 

Visit a local License and Theft Bureau office

Call the DMV Customer Contact Center at 877-421-0020

Visit a License Plate Agency and present the vehicle inspection report from the inspection station 

A list of counties required to perform yearly emissions inspections, as well as information on emissions and safety inspections, is available on the NCDMV website.



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