Georgia Fails Prius on Emissions

April 17, 2007: Source – CNN

Bill Nye

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, marvels at the ultra-clean emissions of hybrids. Unfortunately, the Georgia EPA doesn’t share his sentiment. Georgia testing centers are sending Prius drivers home with failing grades.

Adjusting to the new realities of hybrid cars takes longer for some people than others. Take the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency for example. While California, Colorado and Maryland exempt hybrid drivers from some emissions testing, Georgia testing centers are sending Prius drivers home with failing grades.

The 2004 Prius doesn’t really fail the test, as much as it refuses to take the exam. When the Prius begins to idle—exactly as designed, to prevent unnecessarily burning gasoline —the testing system shuts down. According to a CNN report, “The Prius hybrid’s unique mix of gas and electric power is the befuddlement of the state’s emissions system.” Repeating the test produces the same flawed result, only yielding an “aborted test” certificate for the driver.

This is the first year that drivers of the 2004 Prius are required to take the emissions test in Georgia, which ranked 20th in the nation in new hybrid registrations in January 2007. Many states and municipalities around the country are incentivizing hybrid sales by offering special HOV lane access, tax waivers, free parking and exemptions from testing.

Despite the shortcoming of Georgia’s hybrid emissions systems, the state is still requiring Prius owners to pay the $25 testing fee to pay for a failed certificate, which then can be used to apply for an exception as part of a convoluted process of buying a license plate. When asked if Georgia should consider waiving the Prius, which is one of the cleanest running vehicles available today, Heather Abrams, chief of the Georgia Air Protection Branch, said, “It’s something that we are looking at on a long term basis, but we’re not at that point yet.”


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  • Gerald Shields

    Hahahahahahaha! Prius says,”I don’t needs no ‘steenkin’ emissions test! Why take an emissions test if the Prius won’t emit “jack” when the car stops?!

  • Richard

    Just when I thought government officials couldn’t get any dumber! Guess this is what happens when you buy a vehicle with better technology than the state has. So a PZEV vehicle can’t pass emission tests in Georgia. Guess that’s one state I can do without ever visiting.

  • Tom

    Why is it the State of Georgia seemes dumb? Why would we want you to visit if your vehicle doesn’t pass the emission test. Maybe it needs to be towed instead. I think you folks who think everone is dumb but you need to get your head out of your —.

  • Katherine

    So you’re telling me that Georgia’s technology hasn’t caught up with the Prius, so our cars fail? Riiiight. That’s not rediculous or anything..

  • Richard

    Hate to lay this on all of you but so far… only so far I admit…Georgia is the only state that flunks a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle). Most places recognize the simple fact that true Hybrids produce 80-90% less emissions than ANY other car out there. And when gas hits 6-7 dollars a gallon…well, that’s another issue. Do I think everyone – like people who live in Georgia – are dumb? Certainly not. Do I think the Georgia Environmental Agency officials are dumb for flunking the car with the lowest emissions in the country just because their computer programs can’t measure a car that works TOO well. Frankly yes.

  • Erik

    Did you read that bull in the NYT about how hybrid sales were down? And a week later Toyota announced that the Prius is now the 7th most selling car in NA and outsells Mazda and Subaru combined? This is the kind of bull that the Detroit establishment wants out there in the fog to confuse people. This is perfect for nay sayers. They don’t have to read the article…just the headline will work for them.

  • dkw

    Hopefully our state legislature will take the smart step and just offer a testing exemption as an incentive for these types of vehicles.

    And it’s the GA Environmental Protection Division (EPD), not EPA, by the way.

  • Jim

    Maryland doesn’t even hook up a gauge the exhaust on newer cars. They just check the on board computer. It will tell you if the car is not working to specs. George should do the same if they insist on testing.

  • Kurt

    Anyone involved in this ludicrous decision should be fired on the spot. When commmon sense is so far outweighed by obvious facts, theres a definate problem with the system. If we got rid of morons like this in our beaurocracy, our country might run just a little smoother (and cleaner).

  • langjie

    i heard from someone that you can get it to run the test by putting the A/C on the highest setting

  • Steve

    You know FOX News makes fun of hybrids and the people who drive them. I guess Prius owners are un-American and deserve this hassle. Seriously though this makes the people in charge of Georgia’s testing program look like dummies. Such a shame.

  • Frank

    I’m not sure that giving a Prius an emissions waiver in perpetuity is a good idea. From what I’ve seen, a lot of emissions problems with later-model vehicles are due to owners (who normally would be considered fairly bright) having zero maintenance done. (“Oil change? What’s that?”) Parts wear prematurely, gas mileage goes down, emissions shoot up…

    Unfortunately, in the longer term, I don’t see the Prius being immune to this kind of neglect. (Whether one will ever realistically blame a city’s pollution problem on “all of those old, smoky Priuses” is another story.)

  • Dave K

    Had this experience myself, had to drive an extra 20 miles to get a wavier, real efficient! I’m astounded that no one saw this coming, after all the basis of the problem is “idle stop”, how many cars do that now? Some testers have figured out a workaround to force the car to idle.

  • michael a.

    Of course this would happen in the deep red state of Georgia where:

    “Global warming is a hoax”
    “Evolution is JUST a theory”
    “Tax Cuts Always balance government budgets”
    “Hybrid Cars are fraud perpetrated by eco-terrorist”

  • John B.

    The short-sightedness of the liberal’s impunity discounts that the ridiculousness of the Georgia emissions law was created by liberals in the first place.

  • pianoguy

    … for not informing Georgia’s motor vehicle division that there is an inspection mode, in which the engine will indeed stay on. (But I must confess that as Prius owner myself, I was unaware of inspection mode until reading about it yesterday!)

  • Cousin Billy Joe

    Are you ma cousin?
    Please Georgia! Help those with the courage to move forward such as Toyota and paper work to death all those who continue to live and profit from pure and simpe greed. Funny thing is, those who build and sell the best planet health vehicles WILL have their greed pains filled!!!

  • the bearded one

    hey as long as the state is able to collect. they don’t care. in Ca. you pay for $8.00 for a smog certificate and a internet fee to send it to the DMV. In all the years nobody has asked me for this certificate but I still have to pay for it. expensive paper. another way for the state to rip you off

  • Joan

    Evolution IS just a theory !!

  • Michael

    In GA, the Govt dont move until someone sticks it to them with an attorney. They’re just plain lazy. Sue, and this will end promptly. Georgia bureaucrats and lawmakers don’t move until someone sticks it to them if there is a dollar involved. Sue, and suddenly sensibility imerges. There will be an immediate policy change!

  • Matthew

    Perhaps it is not about emissions at all, but rather a way to shore up their shrinking budget because so many people in georgia have bought a Prius! It seems to me the PEOPLE of Georgia are pretty smart.

  • Michael A.

    Thanks Joan,

    Evolution is a scientific theory which means it is “a fact until proven otherwise”. The same is true with gravity. However many “conservatives” don’t understand the word “theory” in scientific terms. They confuse it with the concept of “hypothesis – an idea that has yet to be tested and proven to be true of false”

    John B! You PROVE my point. Thank You!

    Only a “Conservative” would see clean air regulations and mandated smog checks for autos with internal combustion engines as a bad “liberal” thing!

  • Patrick

    you know we have a lot of anti Toyota so called car journalist up here in Canada too, tried there darnest to discourage people from buying vehicle, since it was introduced. first comlaints were Toyota was selling vehicles at a lost, and they were upset; You tell me which person on this planet will argue if they are getting a great deal on a product, or even willing to sell you something at a lost, surely not me, and throughout the last ten years, just constant negativity, always just looking at mileage, forgetting the main issue of emissions, dont feel bad Ga; we have our share of Dummies up here, we just take there comments with a grain of salt, as we the general public know better, and in many cases better informed.

  • Harry

    Like Maryland, New York’s test involves checking error codes, looking for problems with emissions control equipment.


  • john b

    I’m glad that while trying to learn about hybrid cars I’ve become entangled in a political debate in which apparently being from Georgia makes one an inbred hick. New York’s testing systems are flawed as well- I guess they are inbred hicks as well. Prejudice still reigns in America.

  • whatever

    People in GA, Dakota, Wherever Jeff Foxworthy is popular are buying Prius’s they are NOT Inbred Hicks they are Nice Genuine people…Some people choose to still drive trucks and V8’s due to personal choice they are NOT Inbred Hicks too!!!

    Politicians taking money from bad gas mileage companies not doing Anything are NOT Inbred Hicks too…Heck I wouldn’t let Prius pass the test if the other people gave me Monah!!!

    You took the Article to a Tangent so I am not so sure about you

  • qq

    can you just drain the battery somehow, forcing it to idle?

  • Tights



  • James Kearney

    Testing for CAN vehicles is being tested in beta sites now. The problem has been software, from the manufacturers, not the state of Ga. None of the test equipment is built in GA. So blame places like Ca, and Ark. This will be a non-issue in a few weeks.

  • boris ribadeneira

    i think that prius is a very good car i have one in ecuador and to me i save a lot of money in gas and i consider that i am protecting the enviroment

  • boris ribadeneira

    prius the best!!!!!!!!!!!