License plate

The standard Tennessee license plate that will be available starting this year.

Rutherford County residents will see some changes to the car tag renewal process this year, according to a news release from Rutherford County Clerk Lisa Duke Crowell.

Most notably, Rutherford is one of five counties in the state that will no longer be required to participate in emissions testing. According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, this is because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a revision to the state’s air quality plan earlier this year.

The change goes into effect Jan. 14, 2022.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2022, the registration fee for vehicles in Rutherford County that would have required emissions testing will increase $4.

“This is not to be confused with a wheel tax increase,” Crowell said in a news release. “It is a registration increase and will appear in the county fee area on the renewals or registrations.”

Crowell said that the increase will not affect vehicles that did not previously require emissions testing such as motorcycles, heavyweight vehicles and those with antique tags.

New standard license plates will be available online and in-person beginning Jan. 4, 2022, as residents complete their annual tag renewal.

The Rutherford County Clerk’s Office will no longer issue the month stickers for the plates; the new decals will have both the month and year of expiration.

Last month, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Rutherford County Government broke ground at the corner of Blaze Drive and Fortress Boulevard for a one-stop County Clerk’s Office and Driver Services Center.

The center, expected to open in 12 months, will house the County Clerk’s Office and offer the same services as the downtown and Smyrna locations to include motor vehicle needs, passports, and marriage licenses.

There will be two drive-through windows and a 24-hour kiosk for tag renewals.

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