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1998 In December 1998, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection adopted by reference certain provisions of the California Low Emission Vehicle Program, called the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program, in order to address emissions from mobile sources in Pennsylvania. The PA Clean Vehicles Program does not incorporate California fuels requirements or Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) requirements. States have authority under Section 177 of the Federal Clean Air Act to adopt emission control standards for motor vehicles as long as 1) the standards are identical to standards adopted by California that have been granted a waiver of federal preemption, and 2) are adopted at least 2 years in advance of the commencement of the applicable model year. At the time the PA Clean Vehicles Program was adopted, manufacturers were given the opportunity to opt into a voluntary federal program called the National Low Emission Vehicle (NLEV) program, as a compliance alternative to the PA Clean Vehicles Program. The PA Clean Vehicles Program was the applicable motor vehicle emission control program if the federal NLEV program expired or manufacturers opted out of the NLEV program. The NLEV Program expired as a compliance option beginning with Model Year (MY) 2006 vehicles.
2006 In December 2006, a final-form rulemaking was approved by the Environmental Quality Board for the purpose of clarifying the PA Clean Vehicles Program and postponing the compliance date for the program from MY 2006 to MY 2008. Between MY 2006 and MY 2008, new vehicles in Pennsylvania were required to meet, at minimum, Federal Tier II emission standards.
2008 The Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program is now in effect for MY 2008 and newer passenger cars and light duty trucks. These vehicles are considered subject to the program if 1) they are MY 2008 or newer, 2) under 8,500 lbs GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), and 3) have less than 7,500 miles on the odometer. The PA Clean Vehicles Program adopts by reference certain provisions of the California Low Emission Vehicle Program. Studies performed in 2005/2006 show that the current form of the California program, called CA LEV II, will provide significantly higher
levels of pollution reduction than the current federal mobile source emission control program, Tier II. Subject vehicles are required to be certified for emissions by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), in order to be sold, leased, offered for sale or lease, imported, delivered, purchased, rented, acquired, received, titled or registered in Pennsylvania. Vehicles that are certified for use in all 50 states meet the requirements of the program.
Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program Regulations
1998 Rulemaking: Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program and NLEV
Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program Guidance Document
This document serves as a guide for the implementation and operation of the PA Clean Vehicles Program. It is written in the format of questions and answers. The guidance has general program information, as well as specific information for auto manufacturers, PA vehicle dealers, PA title issuing agents, and motorists. Several useful attachments are also included.
Clean Alternative Fuel Conversions
The Department published the final-form “Policy on Clean Alternative Fuel Conversion Systems” in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on December 3, 2011. The policy document describes the Department’s position on converting a conventionally fueled passenger car or light duty truck to operate on an alternative fuel. This policy specifically relates to vehicles subject to the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program.
PA Clean Vehicles Program Fact Sheet
California Certified Vehicle List
California Low Emission Vehicle Program
PennDOT PA Clean Vehicles website
Emissions from Cars (DEP)
Consumers – Vehicle Dealers – Issuing Agents – Auto Manufacturers
*for more detailed answers, see the PCV Program Guidance Document
Pennsylvania motorists must use caution when purchasing a MY 2008 or newer, new vehicle from outside of Pennsylvania, or when purchasing a MY 2008 or newer, pre-owned vehicle that may have less than 7,500 miles on the odometer from an out-of-state private party. Out-of-state parties selling these vehicles are under no obligation to ensure that the vehicle a motorist purchases is CARB certified, so it is important the motorist ensure the vehicle he or she is buying is CARB certified. The title application will be rejected for a vehicle purchased out of state that is not CARB certified, unless the vehicle qualifies for one of the limited exemptions.
Q. Does this Program require a motorist to buy a new car or truck?
A. No. Only MY 2008 or newer passenger cars or light-duty trucks weighing 8,500 lbs or less that have less than 7,500 miles on the odometer must be CARB certified. MY 2007 and older vehicles are not required to have CARB certification.
Q. I just purchased a new vehicle and tried to have it titled in Pennsylvania through an issuing agent other than where I purchased the vehicle. The agent tells me I can’t get the vehicle titled because it is not CARB certified. What do I do?
A. Contact the PCV Program staff at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Program staff will try to assist you in resolving the situation.
Q. I own a MY 2008 or newer vehicle that is not CARB certified and does not qualify for an exemption from the PCV Program on Form MV-9. Can I take the vehicle to a repair facility or make changes to the vehicle to have it modified to be CARB certified so that it would qualify it to be titled in Pennsylvania?
A. No. Vehicle makes and models are certified by CARB prior to their manufacture. The certification process can be viewed at CARB Certification. Non-CARB certified vehicles cannot be retrofitted or altered to achieve certification. Modifications to emissions control systems, for either CARB certified or federally certified vehicles, can be considered “tampering”. Tampering with emissions control systems is illegal under both Pennsylvania and federal law.
Q. Are all hybrid-vehicles CARB certified?
A. No. While many gas-electric hybrids are certified for California or all 50 states, many models of hybrids have non-CARB certified versions that may be offered for sale in states that do not require CARB certification. A motorist should take caution in purchasing a new gas-electric hybrid vehicle from an out-of-state dealer or third party because the vehicle may not be certified for use in California or all 50 states. The same applies for any other type of hybrid vehicle.
Q. Are CARB certified vehicles exempt from Pennsylvania Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) requirements?
A. No. CARB certified vehicle are subject to the same inspection requirements as non-CARB certified vehicles when those vehicles are registered in one of the 25 Pennsylvania counties that require annual emissions inspection. A brand new, current model year vehicle is eligible for an I/M exemption for the first year. Your new vehicle dealer can give you more information on the emissions inspection exemption when you purchase your new vehicle.
Q. I purchased a MY 2008 or newer light duty vehicle and wish to convert it to operate on natural gas, propane, or another alternative fuel. What is the DEP policy for alternative fuel conversions for light-duty vehicles?
A. DEP allows both EPA- and CARB-certified aftermarket alternative fuel conversion kits to be used on vehicles that are still subject to the PCV Program requirements. DEP published a guidance document titled “Policy on Clean Alternative Fuel Conversion Systems” explaining DEP’s position on alternative fuel conversion systems. See the guidance document on DEP’s website at www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Clean Vehicles under “Program Guidance” for full details. The guidance applies only to conversion systems, and does not address new vehicles as built by the manufacturer, referred to as “Original Equipment Manufacturer” (OEM) vehicles. OEM non-gasoline or bi-fuel vehicles are still required to be CARB-certified to be titled in Pennsylvania. Using an alternative fuel aftermarket conversion system that is not approved by EPA or CARB is considered tampering and tampering with emissions control systems is illegal under both Pennsylvania and federal law.
Q. What does “CARB certification” mean?
A. A vehicle that has been approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for use in the state of California has received CARB certification. This certification means that particular configuration of engine and emission control equipment will pass California motor vehicle emission requirements. An automaker must go through a California certification process, and receive approval from CARB in the form of a CARB Executive Order, before the automaker is legally permitted to offer that make and model in California. A CARB certified vehicle may also be certified for use in all 50 states (including California). Vehicles that automakers indicate are certified to the “federal” standard, are “federally certified”, or are certified to meet EPA standards are not CARB certified.
Q. How can I tell if the new vehicles I order from my supplier have CARB certification?
A. Inventory ordering differs depending on the source. Your supplier (most likely the automaker themselves) should be able to tell you how to order Pennsylvania compliant vehicles properly when you place orders for MY 2008 or later inventory. When the delivery is received, two mechanisms provide the ultimate assurance that a vehicle is CARB certified:
The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). For a CARB certified vehicle, this document usually indicates that the vehicle is certified to or meets emissions standards for either all 50 states or the State of California. This notation is generally near the top or bottom left corner and may be in larger, sometimes specially colored, print. If the certification language indicates that the vehicle is ’federally certified‘, or certified to ’federal standards‘, or ’Tier II' standards alone, the vehicle is not CARB certified. If there is no language on the MCO/MSO indicating the emission certification, the vehicle may still be CARB-certified. CARB-certification must be confirmed in another manner.
The Vehicle Emissions Control Information (VECI) sticker affixed to the vehicle’s engine compartment confirms CARB certification if it has language indicating that the vehicle’s emissions systems comply with California emissions requirements or requirements for all 50 states. If the language indicates that the vehicle is “federally certified” or certified to “federal standards” or “Tier II” standards alone, the vehicle is not CARB certified. VECI sticker formats can vary but must indicate to what emissions standard the vehicle is certified.
Q. What vehicles are exempt from the Program?
A. Section 126.413 of the PCV Program lists all eligible exemptions for qualifying or subject vehicles. These exemptions can be found online at PCV Exemptions.
Q. I don’t sell new cars directly but buy late-model, low-mileage vehicles via a third-party such as an auction. Does this mean I can only buy those MY 2008 and newer vehicles with CARB certification?
A. Any vehicle you acquire that is MY 2008 or newer and has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer must be CARB certified or else it cannot be offered for sale, sold, leased, rented or delivered to a Pennsylvania resident. If the MY 2008 or newer vehicle has 7,500 miles or more on the odometer, it is not considered new and therefore does not require CARB certification. Any vehicle older than MY 2008 (that is, pre-MY 2008 vehicles) can be offered for sale, sold, leased, rented or delivered regardless of certification.
Q. Is my dealership allowed to transfer non-CARB certified vehicles to another dealer?
A. Yes, but only if the non-CARB certified vehicle is intended for ultimate sale outside of Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania dealer may transfer vehicles not subject to the PCV Program (such as medium or heavy duty trucks, vehicles older MY 2008, or vehicles with 7,500 miles or more on the odometer) to other Pennsylvania dealers without qualification.
Q. The MCO or MSO has certification language indicating that the vehicle is “certified for sale in all 50 states” or is “50 state certified”. Is this vehicle compliant?
A. Yes. Many automakers offer “50 state vehicles.” These are compliant with both CARB and federal standards. Vehicles with “50 state” certification may be titled in Pennsylvania.
Q. The MCO or MSO has certification language that indicates the vehicle is only certified for sale in the Northeast. Is this vehicle compliant?
A. Yes. Most states in the northeastern U.S. have adopted the CARB certification requirement and vehicles designated by automakers for sale only in the northeast are CARB certified and therefore can be titled in Pennsylvania.
Q. A Pennsylvania resident is applying to title a MY 2008 or newer vehicle in Pennsylvania that was previously sold and issued a title from another state to the previous owner. The title was assigned to the new owner. No MCO or MSO is available and the vehicle has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer. The vehicle is not intended for an exempted use. Can this vehicle be titled in PA?
A. As the motorist is a Pennsylvania resident, the vehicle is MY 2008 or newer, and the vehicle has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer, the vehicle is subject to the CARB certification requirement. The issuing agent should ensure that a completed Form MV-9 is included. The issuing agent should encourage the applicant to verify certification by asking the applicant to visually confirm the certification via the Vehicle Emissions Control Information (VECI) label in the vehicle’s engine compartment. If an applicant is unable to verify certification, the issuing agent should have the applicant call the PCV Program staff for assistance. Issuing agents are not required to accompany the applicant to perform the Form MV-9 self-certification nor are issuing agents required to verify the accuracy of the applicant’s self-certification. If the VECI label indicates that the vehicle is CARB certified, the applicant should be instructed to complete Section C of Form MV-9. By doing so, the applicant self-certifies that the applicant has visually checked the VECI label installed by the manufacturer under the hood of the vehicle and that it indicates the vehicle is certified for sale in California or all 50 states.
If the applicant indicates that the VECI sticker does not indicate as described above the vehicle is not CARB certified and therefore cannot be titled in Pennsylvania. The applicant should be encouraged to first contact the dealer where the vehicle was purchased. If additional assistance is needed, please contact the PCV Program staff.
Q. What reports are due to the Department as part of the PCV Program and when are they due?
A. Section 126.432 (relating to reporting requirements) of the PCV Program regulation requires the submission of two annual reports, a Total Vehicle Delivery Report and a NMOG Fleet Average Compliance Report. It also requires automakers to submit a one-time report by March 1st of the calendar year following the close of MY 2010, demonstrating compliance with the NMOG fleet average for MYs 2008-2010. See guidance for more information.
Q. Does Pennsylvania require automakers to offer the additional extended warranties required for vehicles certified for California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) sales requirement?
A. No. As the Commonwealth has specifically excluded the ZEV sales percentage requirement from the PCV Program, automakers need not offer those extended warranties for those vehicles offered for sale in Pennsylvania. The Department encourages automakers to offer and honor those extended warranties voluntarily, as a service to their customers. All warranty provisions contained in CARB’s rules referenced in § 126.431 of the PCV program are required.
If the information on this site didn’t answer your questions about the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles program, you can contact program staff by phone at 717-787-9495, or by e-mail at RAfirstname.lastname@example.org*.
* DO NOT USE THIS ADDRESS FOR SUBMITTING A FORMAL RIGHT TO KNOW LAW REQUEST. INQUIRIES SENT HERE WILL BE HANDLED INFORMALLY. If you are seeking DEP records, please begin your inquiry by clicking here to obtain a request form. You may submit a Right to Know Law request form by e-mail to EP-DEP-RTK@pa.gov