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For All Drivers: The Texas Smoking Vehicle Program Explained

by Stephen Thomas on April 23, 2013

Texas New Smoking Vehicle Program

Each year, emissions standards become not only stricter, but also more important. As the threat of global warming looms literally overhead, we need to do everything we can on Earth to keep from toxifying the air. And with 17 million registered vehicles in the state, Texas could become a major contributor to the air pollution throughout the coming years.

To curb this, Texas implemented a “Smoking Vehicle” program in 2001. The program is simple: If you spot a smoking vehicle on the road, there’s a hotline you can call to notify the proper authorities.


One of the problems with smoking vehicles is that the driver isn’t necessarily aware that they are polluting. Calling the hotline (1-800-453-SMOG) lets the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) know about smoking vehicles, so that they can notify the owners.

The TCEQ has established the following guidelines and criteria for reporting a vehicle:

  • Limit reports to vehicles with dirty smoke coming from the exhaust for more than ten consecutive seconds.
  • When you call, have the car’s license plate number, as well as the date, time, and city where you saw the smoking vehicle.
  • Report the call within 30 days. You have the option of submitting an online form (available in Spanish or English), or calling 1-800-453-SMOG (7664). The call is both anonymous and free.


If someone reports your own vehicle as smoking, you will receive a letter from the TCEQ. You are encouraged to examine your vehicle for excessive smoke, and if necessary, correct the problem.

If you are unable to find a problem (i.e., your vehicle is not emitting dirty smoke for more than ten consecutive seconds), do not be concerned. The TCEQ does not conduct investigations or take up legal action, nor do they keep records.

If you receive a letter from the TCEQ but you no longer own the vehicle, you can notify the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) by simply submitting a Vehicle Transfer Notification form.


Your contribution to clean air doesn’t have to stop with smoking cessation programs. There are many other ways you can help clear the air:

  • Instead of driving to work alone, try carpooling or riding the bus.
  • Better yet—ride a bicycle!
  • When driving, try to avoid unnecessary starts and stops.
  • Don’t let your engine idle. If you’re not going anywhere for a while, shut the engine off.
  • If possible, wait until after dark to fill your tank with gasoline. And when you do, try not to top it off.
  • Keep your automobile maintained regularly—everything from properly inflated tires to changing your oil on time can be a contributing factor.
  • Sign up for an online defensive driving course to learn more safe driving tips.


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