New year brings changes to Colorado auto emission inspections

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DENVER -- There are some significant changes this year for Colorado's auto emissions inspection program in metro Denver and the northern Colorado Front Range.

The changes are meant to improve convenience for drivers, while also protecting air quality. The biggest change is that your car won't need an emissions inspection until it's seven years old. The law before said you had to get an emissions inspection after it was four years old.

If your car is 8-11 years old, the inspection will now include the on-board diagnostics system. So instead of revving the engine and spinning tires on the "treadmill," the car will be plugged into a computer.

The state says the change was made possible by improvements in vehicle technology that make gas-powered engines stay cleaner longer.

Another change this year allows people to pay with a credit card instead of just cash or check.

Fees are the same as they've been for 20 years. Vehicles from model years 1982- 2008 require a test every two years at a cost of $25.  Vehicles 1981 and older require a test every year at a cost of $15.