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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Two North Carolina agencies say exempting late-model automobiles from emissions inspections could be done without creating steep obstacles to meet federal air quality requirements while keeping highway funds flowing from Washington.

The Division of Motor Vehicles and Division of Air Quality have completed a study mandated by this year’s state budget to examine the effects of exempting the three newest model-year vehicles from the emissions inspections or eliminating those inspections altogether. The emissions are currently required in 48 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The report recommend the three-year exemption and said eliminating the program could result in the state losing $27 million annually and potentially 4,400 inspection stations going out of business.

The full General Assembly would have to approve any changes to the emissions inspections.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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