HomeCar CultureDo you know the classic vehicle emissions laws in your state?

Do you know the classic vehicle emissions laws in your state?


Effective June 1, 2019, qualified collectible vehicles in Arizona will be exempt from mandatory emissions inspection and maintenance. That’s good news for classic car owners in Arizona, but what about the rest of the country?

Well, if you’re fortunate enough to live in one of 19 states with no emissions requirements, you don’t have to worry. But classic car enthusiasts in the other 31 states (and Washington, D.C.) have a variety of laws with which to contend.

Some states do not require emissions testing for vehicles made before a certain year while others require special license plates or put usage restrictions in place, sometimes only in specific counties.

“You’ll see that a lot of states have restrictions on how these vehicles can be used -– a lot of times, maybe it is the weekends or certain mileage per year or to and from sale or maintenance facility,” Christian Robinson, director of state government affairs for the Special Equipment Marketing Association, told the Journal. 

“Sometimes we’ll also see that some states require people to have a daily driver in addition to their collector car.”

Collector vehicles also require special insurance since their values tend to increase versus decrease.  The Insurance Information Institute, a national nonprofit organization focused to improve public understanding of insurance, offers some suggestions about insuring a classic car. 

According to Chuck Hellings, Director of Marketing at American Collectors Insurance, “standard Auto Insurance does not provide ‘agreed value’ coverage meaning your car may not be insured for its true value. That is a real risk if something should happen to your car.  Collector car insurance provides ‘agreed value’ coverage and combined with the life style of your car, can be significantly less than ‘standard auto’, delivering better coverage at a potentially lower premium.”  

Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at the new Arizona regulations, the result of the passage of H.B. 2357 which was supported by SEMA.

In order to qualify for the exemption, a vehicle must be at least 15 model years old or be of a unique or rare design, of limited production, and an object of curiosity. In addition, vehicles must be maintained primarily for use in car club activities, exhibitions, parades or other functions of public interest, or for a private collection and is used only infrequently. Additionally, the vehicle must have collectible or classic automobile insurance coverage that restricts the vehicle’s mileage or use, or both, and requires the owner to have another vehicle for personal use. 

To make understanding the laws that may affect, the SEMA Action Network compiled this list of states and their varying emissions restrictions:



  1. I have a 15 year old Collector Car and I have Collector car insurance with a 6,000 mile/yr mileage limitation. This past year I only put 3,000 miles on it. I don’t agree with the collector cars only being covered for use in car club activities, parades, etc. if I want to take a day drive to Cottonwood, AZ , I should be able to do that. Also, what I do every week is if I don’t go anywhere with the car I will drive it on a 20 mile run to keep everything running and lubrcated. With this new AZ law, I cannot do that and get emission exempt status. The regulations need to be opened up a little to actual enjoy the car and not have a garage Queen.

      • Glad I live in North Dakota; I use a 2004 GTO as my year round daily driver. It’s able to pass even California tests with the computer turned down to stock spec (two precats, two cats, modern injection, etc), but really. Why can’t such a small segment of the transportation pollution issue be cut some slack, and maybe do something about the huge number of smoke belching older diesel trucks/heavy equipment units, or hey- container ships? Ever read the stats on the Godzilla-sized carbon footprint of one container ship?
        Oh, wait- we can’t do anything to impede the ever upward flow of cash to the 1%, can we?

    • I have JC Taylor as my collector car insurance company and they don’t impose any limits on mileage. Remember as you drive you are showing the car. Bringing it the store it’s on display in the parking lot, parking it at work, etc. Bringing it to the garage in the evening to drop off to leave for service, etc.


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