What is an Emissions Report?

Mary McMahon

An emissions report is a document which provides information about the results of an emissions check, a procedure in which the gases and particulate matter in emissions are tested. The level of detail in an emissions report can vary, depending on the purpose it is used for, and the document may be formally sealed and signed, or take the form of a more casual record which is not considered an official document.

Cars and trucks must undergo regular state emissions tests.
Cars and trucks must undergo regular state emissions tests.

When emissions checks are conducted on vehicles, the owner of the vehicle is usually provided with a certificate which indicates whether or not the vehicle meets the emissions standards in the area where it was tested. People usually need to pay a small fee for this type of emissions report, and for additional copies if they are desired. Many testing facilities can file the report electronically with the government agency which handles the registration of motor vehicles, so there will not be a physical copy of a certificate.

A car's emissions report states whether or not the car is releasing a large amount of pollutants into the air.
A car's emissions report states whether or not the car is releasing a large amount of pollutants into the air.

A more detailed emissions report from a motor vehicle will include a discussion of the type of emissions identified during the emissions testing, including the total loads of particular substances of interest, such as carbon dioxide. The detailed report can be used diagnostically when a car fails the emissions standards to determine what might be causing the car to fail, and how it can be addressed. Details may also be of interest to drivers who would like to keep their emissions as low as possible, and to car manufacturers in the process of testing new car models.

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Emissions reports are also available for facilities such as power plants where combustion is used to generate energy. These emissions reports may be kept on file in accordance with legal requirements so that government inspectors can confirm that the company is regularly monitoring emissions and addressing changes in emissions levels as needed. They can also be prepared in the form of certified documents which are submitted to the government to demonstrate that a company is meeting emissions standards.

People also use the term “emissions report” to refer to a document issued by the government which discusses emissions in a particular region over a set period of time. These documents detail total emissions identified, air quality fluctuations, and the source of various emissions. They can be used to track the history of emissions, to see which industries are the most responsible for emissions, and to demonstrate that a community, city, or region is meeting government standards for air quality.

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