Brought into law in 1984 to combat the dangerous effects of smog in California’s urban areas, California’s smog laws make selling used cars in Oakland, or almost any other city in California just a little bit more difficult. 

With slight amendments and changes to California’s smog laws, making sure your car has a valid smog certificate is increasingly important if you were thinking of selling your car at somewhere like Cash for Cars in Oakland

The core of the new smog laws in California in 2021 are the new inclusion of Vehicle Safety Recall Information with your smog check along with a test of a vehicle’s ECM to determine if it has been tuned/altered beyond OEM settings (which could be sad news for car hobbyists). 

Californians own a lot of vehicles – some of the most in the country, in fact. With the largest number of registered vehicles in the USA at over 14 million, and the eighth most vehicles registered vehicles measured per capita, California has a lot of smog-producing vehicles. Simply put: a dense concentration of vehicles means a lot of smog.

Pollution and Smog

Massive numbers of petrol and diesel vehicles can cause a thick smog to overcome a city, as seen in cities in countries such as China and India. Smog is the result of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbon gases (HC), which are produced in most vehicle engines, and then are exposed to sunlight. Though the smog check on your car may be an annoying extra hurdle in vehicle transactions, there is a good reason why it exists, especially given the three most air polluted cities in the USA are in California (Bakersfield, Visalia, and Fresno-Madera-Hanford).

The inhalation of smog is dangerous, and it has been linked to increased risk of cancer (this is because diesel particulates are carcinogenic), as well as causing respiratory illnesses, heart problems, and asthma. As well as this, between 2005 and 2007 there were over 30,000 asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments emergency room visits in California due to air pollutants.

More State Incentivization 

Due to the dangers that cars that do not pass the BAR smog check pose, the state of California is making another amendment to their smog laws in 2021 to incentivize the retiring of these cars. Since cash-for-car companies such as Cash for Cars in Oakland do not take cars that have failed a BAR smog check as this would be illegal, many people may find that the cost of repairs so their vehicle gains a valid smog certification outweighs the money they would receive for selling it. 

To combat this, the state of California is increasing the vehicle retirement option to $1,500 for owners that meet income eligibility, with everyone else receiving $1,000. The regulations also increase the repair assistance contributions to $900 or $1200, depending on the vehicle’s model year. These new rules are designed to not only help those who may be struggling financially, but also to incentivize owning a valid vehicle with a lower rate of pollution.

To get your vehicle smog checked, you can go to a DMV-authorized smog check station near you or check for auto shops near you who are able to complete a smog check and issue a valid certification. Depending on who completes the smog check, the check should cost anywhere between $30 and $60, and if your vehicle has passed you will receive a state-issued sticker for your dashboard as proof. If your vehicle fails the smog check, you will need to have it diagnosed and repaired at a licensed Smog Check repair station.