Washington Emissions

According to Washington’s Department of Ecology, cars and other vehicles are the leading cause of pollution in the state. Because of this, Washington requires emissions control systems to be tested in many counties where there are registered cars and trucks in order to make sure that they are running properly and not polluting the air. If you live in these certain, you will need to pass an emissions inspection before you can register a vehicle or have your renewal process.

Washington Emissions


If you own a hybrid that gets over 50 miles per gallon in the city, you are exempt from having emissions tests. However, for other vehicles that run off of gasoline and diesel and emissions test is required if you live in the following Washington counties:

  • Clark
  • King
  • Pierce
  • Snohomish
  • Spokane

This test is required to be retaken every two years and you will be reminded of it on the renewal notice that you receive when it is time to renew your vehicle’s registration.

There are also some other circumstances when you will need to have Washington emissions testing outside of this timeframe as well. For example if the title is transferred and there’s a change of ownership of the vehicle, you will need to have an emission test. This is not valid if the vehicle was transferred within the immediate family or among the co-owners who are listed on the title already.

You will also need to have an emissions test when you move a vehicle from another state to one of the counties in Washington that require emissions testing.

Washington Emissions


There are some exemptions when it comes to having the Washington emissions test completed. For example certain types of vehicles do not require this type of testing and if you own one of hotly vehicles you will not worry about having an emission tests completed at this time:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Hybrid vehicles with a rating of 50 miles per gallon or more in the city
  • Vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas
  • Vehicles that operate one propane
  • Diesel vehicles which weigh less than 6000 pounds and are older than 2007
  • Diesel vehicles that are newer than 2007
  • Motorcycles

Washington Emissions

How and where to test

The Department of Ecology in Washington administers the emission check program. If you have questions about whether you need an emissions test or where you can find a place to have one completed, you can contact this department to help you. There is a $15 fee for the emissions test and you are able to pay by cash, check, or credit card.

There are many test stations available throughout the state and you should call ahead to see about hours and the specific types of vehicles that they service. If you have an RVR motorhome many of the stations handle these as well, that some do not.

If your vehicle is out of state at the time when your Washington emission test has expired, you are able to submit an application for a temporary exemption. However, it is important to understand that Washington emissions tests that have been performed outside of the state of Washington are not valid inside the state and you must have one completed when you return.

Washington Emissions