BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

          SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN               AUTHOR:  Pavley
                                                         VERSION: 4/13/09
          Analysis by:  Jennifer Gress                   FISCAL:  yes
          Hearing date:  April 14, 2009


          Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program (smog check):   


          This bill requires the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR),  
          beginning January 1, 2012, to incorporate specified motorcycles  
          into the smog check program. 


          To meet federal air quality standards, existing law requires  
          California-registered, gasoline-powered vehicles, and beginning  
          January 1, 2010 certain diesel-powered vehicles, to undergo  
          biennial smog inspections to measure motor vehicle-related  
          pollutants.  New vehicles six model years old and newer,  
          vehicles with a pre-1976 model year, electric vehicles,  
          motorcycles, and large commercial vehicles are exempt from the  
          smog check program. 

          Upon initial registration and upon a change of ownership and  
          registration of a vehicle, the vehicle owner must submit to the  
          Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) a valid certificate of  
          compliance indicating that the vehicle has passed its smog  
          inspection. If a vehicle fails any component of a smog  
          inspection, the vehicle owner must, with some exceptions, repair  
          the vehicle and pass a subsequent smog inspection before being  
          able to register or renew the registration of the vehicle.  
           This bill  requires BAR, beginning January 1, 2012, to  
          incorporate Class III motorcycles that are a 2000 model-year or  
          newer into the smog check program.  In doing so, the bill:


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                     Defines a Class III motorcycle as a motorcycle  
                 containing an engine with displacement of 280 cubic  
                 centimeters (cc) or greater.

                     Requires, by July 1, 2011, BAR, in cooperation with  
                 the Air Resources Board (ARB), to develop regulations,  
                 including testing procedures, for incorporating  
                 motorcycles into the smog check program.

                     Specifies that motorcycles subject to a smog  
                 inspection shall be tested using procedures determined to  
                 be appropriate by BAR in consultation with ARB.


           1.Purpose  .  According to the author, an additional 5.2 tons of  
            smog-forming pollutants are released into California's air  
            from motorcycles, which are currently exempt from the smog  
            check program. California car owners must have their vehicles  
            inspected and tested every two years, but motorcycles, which  
            are more polluting than cars, are not tested at all.  Based on  
            emission standards for new vehicles, passenger vehicles emit  
            0.09 grams of smog-forming pollutants per mile driven, while  
            motorcycles emit 1.29 grams per mile.  The pollution produced  
            by motorcycles, in other words, is about 14 times that which  
            is produced by cars.

            Furthermore, the past decade has seen improvements in  
            pollution control equipment for motorcycles, and most now come  
            equipped with catalytic converters.  Many motorcycle  
            enthusiasts, however, remove the factory installed emissions  
            control equipment and replace it with "custom" parts that are  
            far more polluting. This practice violates state law, but ARB  
            lacks an effective way to enforce the prohibition. By  
            requiring motorcycles to undergo biennial smog inspections,  
            this bill will help to ensure that motorcycles are in  
            compliance with equipment standards that control the emissions  
            of smog-forming pollution, thereby improving air quality and  
            public health.  

           2.Attainment of air quality standards  .  Incorporating  
            motorcycles into the smog check program was identified as a  
            measure to attain national ambient air quality standards in  
            the state's 2007 State Implementation Plan (SIP).  States that  
            contain areas designated as nonattainment for a particular air  


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            pollutant must develop a SIP to demonstrate how those areas in  
            the state will attain the federal standard for that pollutant.  
             A state's SIP is a combination of state and local air quality  
            planning documents that identify the air pollution control  
            strategies or measures that the state and local agencies will  
            implement under their respective authorities in order to  
            attain the federal standard.  The smog check program is an  
            example of a mobile source strategy to reduce emissions from  
            passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.  California's 2007  
            SIP assumed that the measure would be implemented beginning  
            January 1, 2010.  This bill requires BAR to implement the  
            measure January 1, 2012.
          3.Opposition  .  Opponents contend, in part, that motorcycles do  
            not contribute enough pollution to warrant being included in  
            the smog check program, arguing that they constitute less than  
            three percent of the total number of motor vehicles in  
            California and that they travel, on average, 25 percent or  
            less than a car or truck.  Opponents further estimate that,  
            because of their lower use and higher gas mileage, motorcycles  
            represent only 1.5 percent of all mobile source emissions. 
          4.Tampering  .  An ARB staff report cited a 2003 Motorcycle  
            Industry Council survey finding that 38 percent of motorcycles  
            had modified exhaust systems.  A more recent ARB survey of  
            2003-2007 model-year motorcycles found that 85 percent of  
            newer motorcycles in Southern California (primarily Harley  
            Davidson's) had some form of exhaust modification.  Tampered  
            vehicles emit, on average, two to three times more  
            smog-forming emissions than a non-tampered motorcycle.   
            Furthermore, depending on the make and model of the  
            motorcycle, as well as the extent of modification, tampered  
            motorcycles can emit up to ten times more than non-tampered  

           5.Re-tampering  ?  For owners who modify their motorcycles, it may  
            be a relatively straightforward task to un-modify their  
            vehicles prior to a smog inspection, pass the inspection, and  
            then re-modify them.  Requiring biennial smog inspections may  
            ensure that unmodified motorcycles continue to meet their  
            emission standards, but it may not be as effective in  
            addressing emissions from modified motorcycles.

           6.Why Class III motorcycles with a 2000 model-year or newer  ?   
            The bill applies only to those motorcycles that are Class III,  
            defined as having an engine with a displacement of at least  


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            280 cc and that are a 2000 model-year or newer.  With regard  
            to the class of motorcycle, Class III motorcycles have larger  
            engines and thus pollute more than Class I or II motorcycles.   
            With regard to model year, these motorcycles constitute about  
            72 percent of all registered motorcycles in the state.   
            Furthermore, the 2000 model year reflects when market  
            penetration of emission control devices for motorcycles  
            occurred.  In 2000, 35.2 percent of all motorcycles were built  
            with catalytic converters; in 2008, that number had increased  
            to 87 percent.  Because of the increased reliance on emission  
            control equipment such as catalytic converters in 2000  
            model-year and newer motorcycles, tampering has a greater  
            impact on emissions than it did for motorcycles manufactured  
            prior to 2000.  Without an inspection and maintenance program  
            (i.e., smog check) for motorcycles, there is no way to assess  
            whether a motorcycle has been tampered with.  Despite these  
            findings, some questions remain regarding whether this  
            universe is the most appropriate for inclusion in smog check.   
            What percentage of total emission reductions is achieved by  
            incorporating this universe relative to including all  
            motorcycles or some smaller set of motorcycles? What are the  
            advantages and disadvantages of including different sets?  
            Further explanation may be warranted.  

           7.Distinguishing different classes of motorcycles  . Existing law  
            does not refer to engine size in its definition of motorcycle,  
            however, DMV defines a motorcycle as having more than 150 cc,  
            no more than three wheels, and weighing less than 1500 pounds.  
             DMV does not, however, document the class or engine size of  
            the motorcycles it registers and is thus not readily able to  
            differentiate motorcycles that would or would not be subject  
            to the smog check program as required by this bill.  
           POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on  
                      April 8, 2009)

               SUPPORT:  American Lung Association (co-sponsor)
                         National Parks Conservation Association  
                         Bay Area Air Quality Management District
                         California Emissions Testing Industries  
                         Coalition for Clean Air
                         Natural Resources Defense Council
                         Planning and Conservation League


          SB 435 (PAVLEY)                                          Page 5


                         Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management  
                         Sierra Club California
                         Union of Concerned Scientists
               OPPOSED:  ABATE of California, Inc.
                         Art of the Chopper Company
                         72 individuals