According to the American Automobile Association (, owners of older hybrid vehicles have begun receiving Dept. of Motor Vehicle notices in the mail to get their vehicle a Smog Check test.

“Once the hybrid passes the test, a smog certificate is issued and a registration sticker can be obtained,” according to Dave Skaien, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Approved Auto Repair Program Manager. “The Smog Check will ensure that any hybrid emission-related problems are isolated and repaired so that these vehicles’ emissions remain low.”

Beginning this year and for the first time, older hybrids must pass a smog test before their owners can obtain a vehicle registration sticker. Why? Because new technology now makes it possible to test hybrids’ fuel component and emission controls.  These systems experience the same wear-and-tear that occurs in traditional gasoline-engine vehicles and causes pollution.

Hybrid vehicles entered the marketplace in 2000, according to Megan McKernan, manager of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center, which publishes the AAA Green Car Guide, but these greener vehicles could not be tested on smog test equipment used at that time.

“Testing only takes about 10 minutes because at least 40 percent of the older testing procedure has been eliminated due to technology advancements,” said Skaien.  “Newer technology makes the costlier tailpipe emissions procedure unnecessary.”