Emissions – Georgia Car Law Authority

In this video, we are going to talk about a particularly weird but very common issue and that’s emissions. It is against Georgia law for a dealer to sell a car to a customer residing in an emission county before it has been emissions tested. Watch this video to learn more about emissions best practices in Georgia.

Below is a transcript of the video:

Now let’s talk about a particularly weird but very common issue and that’s emissions. I say it’s weird because some cars require it, some don’t, some counties require it, and some don’t. Even the governing body on emissions, The Georgia Clean Air Force, isn’t your standard Department of Revenue or Secretary of State. It’s its own entity, and it’s protecting the environment. Then you get into questions of has the consumer has been damaged if a car doesn’t have emissions, and how do we evaluate that? It goes under the Fair Business Practices Act usually, and it can be a mess.

EmissionsHere’s the thing about emissions. It is illegal in Georgia for a dealer to sell a vehicle to a consumer living in an emissions-required county if that vehicle does not have, THEN passing emissions. That’s the key phrase there, then passing meaning at the time of sale, the emissions were valid in passing. Notice I said at the time of sale, that doesn’t mean two days later or three days later.

It is against Georgia law for a dealer to sell a car to a customer before it has been emissions tested.

The law is that at the time of sale, the vehicle must have passing emissions. I have seen too many issues arise in my practice where I’ve seen dealers that didn’t have passing emissions, didn’t know the consumer was in an emissions county, don’t always get cars tested for emissions before they sell them, and it becomes a mess. The best practice is really just to have every car tested for emissions, whether it’s sold to an emissions county resident or not.

Some dealers don’t do that. They wait to see where the consumer is coming from before they get it tested so while the consumer’s waiting, they go get the vehicle tested. To me, that’s a mistake. Too often I see a vehicle that doesn’t pass testing then the customer doesn’t buy the car. Now they’ve wasted their whole day and guess what they leave? A bad review on Google reviews. “I spent this whole day negotiating a deal and then the car wouldn’t pass emissions and so I couldn’t buy it.”

What a waste of time. So the best practice is to get every car tested for emissions before it is even listed for sale that way, there’s no issue down the road.

In 2021, when we were dealing with this pandemic, the emission system went down. You talk about a real mess. The dealers that hadn’t gotten cars’ emissions tested were floundering.

“What do we do? Do we have to get it tested? Do we not? Can we sell a car that’s not emissions tested? We can’t get it tested because the system is down.”

It’s best to have all your vehicles tested and passed while they’re sitting on the lot so there’s no question and so there’s no issue if the system goes down or if the consumers waiting or for any other possible problem with emissions.


For more videos on the Georgia Car Law Authority series, please visit www.georgiacarlaw.com.

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