The Massachusetts Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) law, enacted in 1990, requires that all new passenger vehicles sold and registered in Massachusetts meet cleaner California motor vehicle emission standards. Three other states - New York, Vermont, and Maine - have adopted a similar law for one good reason: LEVs mean less air pollution. The LEV program protects your health by reducing harmful pollutants emitted into the air from vehicle exhaust - pollutants such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and toxics such as benzene.

Simply put, the LEV program requires that new vehicles - any vehicle with 7,500 miles or less on the odometer - must be equipped with factory-installed California-certified advanced emission control systems. This applies to all model year 1995 and newer passenger cars and light-duty trucks up to 6,000 pounds sold and registered in Massachusetts.

Beginning in model year 2003, these same requirements will apply to medium-duty vehicles weighing from 6,001 to 14,000 pounds. As a result, all model year 2003 and newer vehicles with 7,500 or less miles on the odometer that weigh 14,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight must be California-certified prior to being sold to or registered by a Massachusetts resident.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) plays a key role in the LEV program by ensuring that new vehicles registered in Massachusetts are LEVs.

Buying Guide

  • Where to buy. All new car dealerships in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Maine and California sell LEVs. Dealerships bordering these states may also sell LEVs. If you buy a new car from a dealer outside of Massachusetts, be sure to ask for documentation that your new vehicle is a LEV.
  • How to identify a LEV. The law requires a Vehicle Emission Control Information Label under the hood stating "this vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA and state of California regulations" or "this vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA regulations and is certified for sale in California." Also, the Certificate of Origin will state the following: "Certified for sale in Massachusetts, California and New York," or "Certified for sale in 50 states."
  • How the Registry of Motor Vehicles identifies a LEV. First-Time Registration: If the vehicle has never been registered, the RMV will inspect the Certificate of Origin for the LEV certification statement. Previous Registration: For a previously registered vehicle with less than 7,500 miles, the RMV requires the owner to schedule an appointment with a registry inspector. The inspector will then look under the hood for the Vehicle Emission Control Label. You may contact the RMV at 857-368-8130 to schedule an inspection.
  • Non-LEV vehicles. These cannot be registered in Massachusetts! Return the vehicle to the point of purchase. Dealerships have been informed by automobile manufacturers that they may sell only LEVs to Massachusetts residents.

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