Smoking Vehicle Program

The Smoking Vehicle Program is a program run by Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 20-128.1. This program helps prevent excess pollution in our community. Residents may report vehicles that are observed emitting excessive visible emissions within Mecklenburg County. MCAQ then notifies the owner of the reported vehicle of the resident report. If necessary, the vehicle should be repaired or adjusted so it does not smoke.

Why are smoking vehicles a problem?

Chemicals in the smoke contribute to the larger air quality problem in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding region. This smoke causes irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, especially for children, older adults and people with chronic lung disease.

When smoke is coming from the tailpipe of a motor vehicle, it indicates some type of mechanical problem. Catching these problems early can prevent expensive repairs down the road. A vehicle that is not properly maintained also costs more to operate due to increased fuel and oil costs.

Help Stop Smoking Cars!

Report smoking vehicles to Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) to improve local air quality, help people with respiratory (breathing) problems breathe a little easier, and notify your fellow drivers of potential mechanical problems.

North Carolina General Statute 20-128.1 - "Control of Visible Emissions," prohibits gasoline and diesel powered vehicles from emitting visible smoke for longer than 5 seconds.

Report a Smoking Vehicle

How do I report smoking vehicles?

Report vehicles with visible tailpipe emissions by calling 311 or by using the link below.

What information is needed?

  1. North Carolina License Plate Number;
  2. Make and model of Vehicle (e.g. Ford F-150, Honda Civic, etc.);

  3. Location, date, and time of observation; and

  4. Name and daytime contact of Observer.

Response Form

 Did you receive a letter from MCAQ?

If you received a letter from MCAQ stating that your vehicle was observed smoking, use the link below to provide a response detailing actions taken.

When a report is received, MCAQ will use the license plate information to get the owner's information from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. MCAQ will then will send a letter to the owner reporting the observation and requesting repairs be made to vehicles. No information about the observer will be included in the letter to the vehicle's owner.