Join Date: Oct 2011
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Well, yes indeed, I was rolled by the folks at the Ohio E Check. When I went for my E Check, I was told I had two choices. I could not have an E Check and pay extra for commercial plates or I could pay out of pocket for an "optional" E Check and purchase non-comm plates (the less expensive option).
They were wrong.
I went to the State of Ohio EPA website and they stated that only vehicles with a GVW over 10,000 lbs were exempt from the test. GVW on my truck is around 6200 lbs. No brainer, my truck is less than 10k GVW; my test is mandatory, AND FREE. I returned to the station and asked for a refund based on what the EPA website has listed. I was then told that, no, it's based on GVWR. I asked for proof of this....none was able to be given. Hmmm. I was then given an 800 number to call.
So, I called the 800 number and got an EPA wonk who says, after my explanation, "Hmmm, I don't know about this, I'll call you back."
10 minutes later I get a return call from the EPA. (I'm impressed!) I am informed that, yes, the exemption is based on GVWR, NOT GVW. The State's website is incorrect. I was given the OAC number that says as much. Well, the Ohio Administrative Code is the law here, the website is wrong, testing station is right and I'm out $19.50 every two years.
Uh, no, not really.
Brandon at the EPA informs me that a vehicle that has a GVWR over 10k lbs. is exempt from the E Check. All I have to do is take the truck to the local field office and submit it to a visual inspection that verifies all the emission control crud that was on it from the factory is still there. 15 minutes later, I get a slip of paper that exempts my truck from ever having another E Check ever. This is a free service from the EPA. This is the correct answer and the one that the folks at the testing station should have told me.
"Because your truck has a GVWR over 10,000 lbs., please take it to the local field office and based on a visual examination, they will give you a paper giving you an exemption from ever having to have this vehicle E Checked. If you take that paper to the BMV, they will issue you non-comm plates based on this. This service will be free of charge."
That's all they had to say and I would have got it. Ah well, lesson learned. So, if there is anyone else in the seven county mandatory E Test zone (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage & Summit), and your truck is over 10,000 lbs GVWR, you too are exempt from the test if you get your truck visually inspected at the local field office.
Sorry for the long post!