Effective with model year (MY) 2004, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards for light-duty diesel powered passenger vehicles and trucks. Light-duty motor vehicles are defined under MassDEP LEV Program regulations as vehicles weighing up to 8,500 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

  • The requirement for MY 1995 and newer gasoline powered passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles weighing up to 6,000 lbs. GVWR to be California-certified prior to sale and registration in Massachusetts is still in place and is not affected by the new requirements for light-duty diesel vehicles.
  • The requirement for MY 2003 and newer gasoline powered medium-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles weighing up 6,001-14,000 lbs. GVWR to be California-certified prior to sale and registration in Massachusetts is still in place and is not affected by the new requirements for light-duty diesel vehicles.

Has MassDEP prohibited diesel passenger vehicle sales?

No. Massachusetts has not specifically prohibited the sale of diesel passenger vehicles. However, diesel vehicles can only be registered in Massachusetts if their emission levels are low enough to meet California emissions standards, which Massachusetts has adopted. The automobile manufacturers have not made MY 2004 diesel passenger vehicles that meet MY 2004 emission standards.

What Massachusetts law set these emission standards?

In 1990 the Legislature passed a law that required the MassDEP to adopt California emissions standards for new vehicles unless federal standards are more protective. As such, MassDEP did adopt the California standards under the LEV program. The regulations took effect for MY 1995 and newer vehicles sold and registered in Massachusetts. In 1999, MassDEP adopted LEV II, which includes more stringent exhaust, evaporative, and fleetwide average standards and requires that most sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light-duty trucks meet the same standards as passenger vehicles. LEV II also eliminated the transitional low emission vehicle (TLEV) standard. This was the least stringent emission standard under LEV I, and the standard to which diesel passenger vehicles were certified.

Can consumers register MY 2004 diesel passenger vehicles in Massachusetts?

Beginning in MY 2004, diesel passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks weighing up to 8,500 pounds GVWR, with less than 7,500 miles on the odometer, cannot be registered in Massachusetts under MassDEP's LEV program. In order for a vehicle to be registered in Massachusetts it must be California-certified. Since MY 2004 diesel passenger vehicles will not be California-certified, consumers cannot register these vehicles in Massachusetts.

Will consumers be able to register diesel passenger vehicles in the future?

Current diesel technology has not advanced to the degree that automobile manufacturers can produce vehicles to meet the more stringent LEV II standards. It is up to the automobile manufacturers to produce diesel passenger vehicles that are California-certified so they can be registered in Massachusetts. As diesel technology advances and as low sulfur diesel fuel is phased in, diesel passenger vehicles may be manufactured to meet the California standards under LEV II.

Requirements for Sale and Registration of Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles in Massachusetts

Prior to being sold or registered in Massachusetts, MY 2004 and newer light-duty (up to 8,500 GVWR) diesel powered vehicles must be certified as meeting California motor vehicle emission standards. This also applies to all light-duty diesel powered vehicles with 7500 miles or less on the odometer.

I. New Vehicles that have not been previously titled:

The Certificate of Origin must be imprinted with a statement of compliance by the manufacturer indicating that the vehicle is California-certified.

Statements that Comply:

  • This vehicle has a California emission system
  • This vehicle meets/satisfies Massachusetts emission standards
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in Massachusetts
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in 50 states

Statements that Do Not Comply:

  • This vehicle meets/satisfies Federal emission standards
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in 49 states
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in New York or Vermont
  • A dealership certification stamp
  • No statement

II. Previously titled vehicles with less than 7500 miles on the odometer:

The Vehicle Emission Control Information Label (Information Label), which is affixed by the manufacturer under the hood of the vehicle, must indicate that the vehicle is California-certified.

Statements that Comply:

  • This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA and state of California regulations
  • This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA regulations and is certified for sale in California
  • This vehicle meets/satisfies Massachusetts and Maine emission standards
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in 50 states

Statements that Do Not Comply:

  • This vehicle conforms Federal emission standards
  • This vehicle conforms to the National Low Emission Vehicle standards
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in 49 states
  • This vehicle is certified/legal for sale in New York and or Vermont.
  • No Label

For more information

Contact the MassDEP Low Emission Vehicle Program:
Ngoc Hoang Tran
617-292-5762
ngoc.hoang.tran@state.ma.us