Virginia – General Emissions Information

Last updated on March 16th, 2021

Virginia General Emissions Information

Every two years, citizens of Virginia are required to undergo an emissions inspection. However, there are some exemptions to this requirement and the following vehicle types are not required to have the emissions inspection completed:

  • New vehicles where the owner has a manufacturer’s certificate of origin and our first being titled in the state and very first time
  • Gasoline powered vehicles that have reached a certain age regardless of whether they are registered as an antique vehicle
  • Diesel vehicles
  • Clean fuel vehicles
  • Some hybrid vehicles

You will be required to have a Virginia emissions inspection completed before you are able to register your vehicle if one is required. You must be able to show this information to the DMV in order to receive a registration and if you cannot, you will only receive a temporary registration. This is intended to give you time to make sure that the vehicle passes the inspection.

Every year you will receive a renewal notice in the mail and it will indicate whether you are required to have a small test completed and when it should be completed by. Bring this notification to the Virginia inspection station so that process can be sped up.


It is important to remember that if your vehicle does fail the Virginia emissions test, you are required to take it to a garage that has been certified by Virginia’s DEQ. You may be able to apply for a waiver if you have attempted to repair the vehicle and has spent a certain amount of money and the vehicle still fails. In order to learn more about this waiver, you should contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to see if you qualify.


In order to protect the environment the state of Virginia has set up this testing to make sure that their vehicles are producing very little emissions. However, another way that you can protect the environment is by living an eco-friendly lifestyle and by driving a green vehicle.

There are many incentives to driving one of these vehicles, including saving on gas in the possibility of having a discount for insurance. The state of Virginia also offers an incentive to its citizens in the way of emissions exemptions.

For example, if you tried any of the following vehicles you may be able to qualify for an exemption and avoid having an emissions test completed:

  • Vehicles that run on compressed natural gas
  • Vehicles that run on liquefied natural gas
  • Electric vehicles
  • Solar energy vehicles

There are also certain hybrids that qualify for an exemption as well. For example, if you drive a Toyota Prius or a Honda Insight, you may qualify for an exemption as well. Motorcycles and some diesel-powered vehicles also qualify for this exemption.


If you live in the state of Virginia, it is important to maintain your safety and Virginia emissions testing in order to be compliant and be able to receive your registration. These have been put in place in order to protect the environment, you, and other passengers that are on the roadways with you.

Filed under: Virginia, Articles, State Emissions Testing

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