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News Releases from Region 04

Improved Air Quality Leads EPA to Approve North Carolina’s Request to Remove 26 Counties from the State’s Inspections and Maintenance Program

This action removes regulations that are no longer needed and is expected to save consumers money

Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (
(404) 562-8293 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA (September 25, 2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule approving North Carolina’s revision of their air quality State Implementation Plan (SIP) removing 26 of 48 counties from the state’s Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program. Accordingly, these counties are expected to no longer require vehicle emissions inspections in the future.

EPA took this action because the state demonstrated that the counties comply with the ozone air quality standards and removal of this requirement will not interfere with their ability to remain in compliance with these or any other air quality standards.   

“A combination of federal and state regulations has improved air quality in North Carolina such that emissions testing is no longer required in certain counties,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn. “This final rule is anticipated to save consumers in these areas money on annual emissions inspections.”

The North Carolina counties approved for removal from mandated vehicle emissions testing 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.

Vehicle I/M programs help improve air quality by identifying cars and trucks with high emissions that may need repairs. Owners or operators of vehicles with high emissions are notified to make any repairs so that emissions are within legal limits. The Clean Air Act identifies specific requirements, including I/M programs, that states must submit to EPA as part of their SIPs to attain and maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

For more information on the final rule, visit the federal register at:

Learn more about State Implementation Plans under the Clean Air Act: