Remember the days when an inspection sticker cost five bucks and everyone had "a guy" that could get you a sticker no matter what kind of shape your car was in? Long gone. Many of you may not be aware of new changes in the process that could make it more difficult than ever to get a sticker.

As of October 1st, the Chicago-based Applus Technologies took over emissions testing for the Massachusetts Vehicle Check program, a joint initiative of the MassDEP and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Applus won a $29 million dollar contract to run the program for the next five years. An eight year deal with Parsons Technologies expired on September 30th.

An inspection sticker costs $35 dollars for a normal passenger car. The test will take around 15 minutes, although changes in testing equipment (which cost inspection stations between $5 thousand and $10 thousand dollars per testing bay) could result in more lengthy tests at first, and thus delays.

One major change coming is that the new system requires inspection stations to install a minimum of three video cameras to make sure that the test is being implemented properly and that violations, such as rust holes and worn tires are not being allowed to slide. The use of video cameras has been delayed until next year however, due to problems rolling out the system by October 1st. Portable cameras will also be used to record vehicle identification numbers, odometer readings and other relative information.

According the The State House News Service, getting caught with an expired inspection sticker could result in surchargeable points to your insurance premiums and will count as a surcharageable event for license suspension/revocation purposes. says the $35 sticker fee you pay breaks down this way:

  • $23.50 to the inspection station
  • $1.32 to Applus
  • $10.17 to the state

Welcome to Massachusetts, the land of opportunity. I wonder how many working people will be forced to junk their wheels as a result of this new policy?