Free emissions test offered at Fresno City College

FRESNO, Calif.

People waited hours for a free car emissions test. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District was one of the organizers of the event.

People whose cars didn't pass their emissions test were given a voucher they can use for repairs at designated smog shops.

The parking lot outside Fresno City College was packed Saturday, not with students, but with drivers---who lined up as early as Friday night to receive a free emissions test.

"There was probably a hundred and fifty cars ahead of me."

"How long have you been waiting? I've been waiting..What time is it now? Like 4 or 5 hours."

520 vehicles were serviced and Michelle Virgen's 1995 Chevy Caprice was one of them.

"You purchased gas in California between 1995 and 2005? Yes."

After a check of the tailpipe, the car failed its emissions test.

Virgen left with a $500 voucher funded by a grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

"Instead of using money for something else, they're helping me benefitting me to where I can you know, use and get my car fixed with voucher where I don't have to spend money. I can pay my bills and take care of my family," Michelle Virgen said.

A smog test can run anywhere between $50 and $80. Another incentive for drivers was a chance at better fuel efficiency.

A better running car uses less gas, which is crucial, now that it's nearing $4 a gallon.

"It will be very beneficial. Things are tough these days, so we gotta take very dime we can get," Dave James said.

While drivers saved money, the ultimate goal of Saturday's event was to improve air quality in the Valley, where residents breathe some of the worst air in the state.

"This is the biggest source of potential emissions reductions possible in the valley, and so we're really looking hard to find these dirty cars and get them cleaned up," Tom Knox said.

Seventy percent of the cars checked failed an emissions test. Drivers that were turned away after 11 a.m., because there were too many cars lined up.

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