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Permitting & Compliance

The following localities participate in the Air Check Virginia program: the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford; and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. A network of service stations, repair shops, motor vehicle dealers and other facilities will perform the inspections and emissions-related repairs.

Cost and exemptions

A vehicle emissions inspection may cost up to $28. In addition, a $2 annual administrative fee is collected by DMV at the time of registration. Virginia uses this fee to cover the administrative costs of the program. Vehicles exempt from the inspection include motorcycles, registered antique vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, and vehicles powered exclusively by clean fuels.


When a vehicle fails the tailpipe emissions standards or an On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) inspection, a waiver may be obtained if a specified amount has been spent on emissions-related repairs for that vehicle. This waiver amount is set by federal law and may change periodically based on the Consumer Price Index. Repair work must be performed at a DEQ Certified Emissions Repair Facility and performed, or supervised and approved, by a DEQ Certified Emissions Repair Technician, no more than 60 days before the initial inspection failure. Other conditions apply - please see Did your vehicle fail? for more information. A waiver is valid for two years.


Exhaust emissions are tested while a vehicle operates on a treadmill-like device, called a dynamometer, at 15 mph and 25 mph only. No high-speed testing is performed. This test will be given to most 1981 and newer vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating up to 8,500 pounds. The test is conducted by the inspector at the local testing facility.

Two Speed Idle Test

Some vehicle exhaust emissions are tested while operating at idle and at an engine speed of 2,500 rpm. This test is only for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds, and for 1980 and older model year vehicles or other vehicles that, because of size or other mechanical configuration, cannot be accommodated on the dynamometer.

On Board Diagnosis II (OBD II) Inspection

Most 1996 and newer model year vehicles will be subject to a computerized analyzer check that will look for fault codes that may be present in the vehicle's on board computer. This inspection may be performed instead of, or in some cases in addition to, the dynamometer or two speed idle tests on eligible vehicles. Visit OBD II inspections for more information.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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