By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives has taken a step toward enabling automobile dealers to bypass a law requiring them to provide emissions certification on cars and light trucks, a rule that auto dealers say adds burdensome red tape to the buying process.
Lawmakers on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of the bill, which would repeal a 1977 mandate aimed at ensuring that vehicles sold in the United States conform with the Clean Air Act aimed at reducing air pollution.
The bill, which was supported by auto dealers, next moves to the U.S. Senate where it is also expected to pass easily, although no date has been set for consideration.
Ohio Republican Robert Latta, who introduced the legislation, said that the certification requirement imposes an unnecessary paperwork burden on auto dealers and duplicates already existing systems to make vehicles compliant with U.S. emissions standards.
Current law requires car dealers to provide written notification to anyone buying a new car or light truck indicating that the vehicle meets the Clean Air Act emissions requirements.
This means that the dealers have to visually inspect the cars and make sure that emissions control devices are installed correctly, and to inform the buyer that if the car fails emissions tests within the first three months or the first 4,000-mile test, the manufacturer will fix the problem.
"This legislation will make the car buying process a little simpler and let auto dealers spend less time complying with obsolete regulatory requirements and more time developing their businesses, investing in local communities and creating jobs," Latta said in a statement after the vote.
David Westcott, chairman of National Automobile Dealers Association, said the requirement for dealers to provide the certification was redundant since all cars sold in the United States must comply with the Clean Air Act before leaving the factory.
Such a certificate, he said, can already be found under the hood or in the user manual of most cars or online. (Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna, editing by Ros Krasny and Jonathan Oatis)