End To Car Emission Testing Could Impact Memphis Air Quality

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) You won't have to sit in those long vehicle-testing lines anymore. Friday was the last day vehicles in Memphis had to go through inspection.

It also means now no one will check what's being emitted from vehicles.

"Extra emissions go into the air and through a chemical process creates ozone. As you and I stand outside on heavy ozone days, it causes more health issues with what we breathe in," says Tyler Zerwekh, of the Shelby County Health Department.

Drivers like Janice Johnson had concerns about the vehicle testing program all along.

"Our environment changes so much we probably need to do it, but I think it's unfair for us to do it in the city and our county doesn't do it. Mississippi and Arkansas, they don't do it and drive on our streets as well," says Johnson.

Emission testing was supposed to have been one solution to get the city in compliance with EPA air quality standards, but just last year, Memphis's air quality fell short again.

So are we headed for bigger problems now that hundreds of thousands of vehicles will be going unchecked?

"As long as the community members here in Shelby County are taking the proactive measures to reduce the ozone emissions, health exposure should be OK," says Zerwekh.

In reality, no one can say what will happen in the long term.

As the city and county fight over whose job it is to inspect vehicles, the EPA is keeping its eye on what's in the air we all breathe.

The health department says there are some things you can still do to improve the air quality, like not over-filling your gas tank, limiting your trips and reducing time outside when ozone levels are high.