2020 Smog Check Performance Report

On July 1, 2020, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) released the 2020 Smog Check Performance Report (SCPR). Required annually by Assembly Bill (AB) 2289 (Eng, Chapter 258, Statutes of 2010), the report provides an update on California’s Smog Check Program. It includes an analysis of data collected through inspections performed by Smog Check stations and BAR’s Roadside Inspection Program.

The 2020 SCPR illustrates continued improvement for the Smog Check Program since implementation of the performance-based STAR Program in January 2013. Recent changes, including implementation of innovative strategies and enforcement activities to identify fraudulent inspection activity and improve station performance, have significantly contributed to these positive results. Key findings detailed in the 2020 SCPR include the following:

  • Roadside data shows a decline in failure rates – Model year 2000-2006 vehicles inspected using the BAR On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (BAR-OIS) failed at an average of 18% in the 2018-2019 roadside sample compared to 19% in the 2017-2018 sample. Similarly, model year 1976-1999 vehicles inspected using the BAR-97 Emission Inspection System (EIS) failed at an average rate of 19% in the 2018-2019 roadside sample compared to 20% in the 2017-2018 sample.

  • BAR’s enforcement activities are clearly reflected in the roadside data – Model year 2000-2012 vehicles certified at stations whose licenses had been revoked had a roadside failure rate of 28% compared to a 14% failure rate for vehicles certified at stations not subject to enforcement actions.

  • Certificate blocking and other efforts to deter fraud positively influence both consumer and inspector behavior – Blocked certificates dropped from an average of 1,300 per month in mid-2018 to approximately 350 in July 2019. Enforcement action taken against stations engaged in “clean gassing,” the act of introducing a surrogate gas into a tailpipe exhaust emissions sample, also has helped to curtail fraudulent activity.

  • “High-performing” stations play a critical role in emission reductions – BAR and the California Air Resources Board estimate that in calendar year 2019, the Smog Check Program could have reduced reactive organic gases and oxides of nitrogen (ROG and NOx) emissions by an additional 30 to 50 tons per day if all stations operated similar to “high performing” stations.

For additional information, the complete 2020 SCPR and a webcast of the SCPR presentation provided at the July 2020 BAR Advisory Group meeting are available at www.bar.ca.gov.

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