SBEAP industry sector: Automotive - body shop and vehicle maintenance

Air permit 

Body shops can apply for PDF icon Air Emission Registration Permits if they qualify. Application forms are on the air permit and forms page – click on “Registration Permit Application Forms” on the right.


See our NESHAP page for an overview of what NESHAPs are. Because they are federal rules and are separate from state air permit requirements, whether or not you need an air permit does not affect whether a NESHAP applies, and likewise whether or not a NESHAP applies to your facility does not affect whether you need an air permit.

Hazardous Waste License

The ’10 Steps to Compliance’ fact sheets on the MPCA Hazardous Waste page will help you determine if any of your wastes are hazardous. If any are, apply for a hazardous waste license using the agency's Notification of Regulated Waste Activity online e-Service.


Hazardous waste training is offered by the MPCA and several of the metro counties. Contact your county hazardous waste department to see if they offer training or visit the MPCA Training page .

Hazardous waste management

More fact sheets on other wastes.

If you store gasoline, diesel, used oil, or anything else in a tank, be sure you are meeting tank requirements. The MPCA aboveground and underground storage tank pages have more information.

Clean-up of tank leaks

HTML icon Petrofund reimbursement (Commerce)


Reducing automotive wastes can save money and time, reduce regulatory obligations, and benefit the environment and worker health.

  • Don’t get stuck with expensive-to-dispose-of ‘unknowns’: keep manufacturer labels protected; label and date transfer containers or applicators; rotate stock to avoid expired or obsolete products; only accept samples you know you can use.
  • Use refillable aerosols or spray pumps and buy in bulk. You’ll save storage space and money by reducing disposable container waste.
  • Use a squeegee and plastic dustpan as a first step when cleaning up shop oil spills. Most of the oil will come off the floor and can go directly into your used oil container. The use of absorbents and the cost of their disposal will be greatly reduced.
  • Switch to a water-based parts washer (aqueous) instead of a solvent-based one. Switching to an aqueous washer can yield a less than two-year payback when reduced purchasing and disposal costs are considered, as well as being better for employee safety. If you must use solvent, on-site distillation can provide cost and environmental savings over disposal: HTML icon Aqueous parts washers for small operations (MnTAP)
  • Use two bins (“dirty” and “clean”) for parts washing to reduce disposal costs up to 50%.
  • HTML icon Waste Reduction in Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (MnTAP)
  • HTML icon Minnesota Materials Exchange


  • Keep painters and paint booth floors, lights, and filters clean to minimize flaws and reduce unnecessary rework.
  • Have your painters attend refresher training annually – technique affects transfer efficiency, and that impacts your bottom line. Many painters only achieve about 50% transfer efficiency, meaning half of all the paint you buy is being wasted.
  • Use HVLP spray guns. Less overspray means less waste.
  • Consider switching to waterborne paints. There are fewer emissions, reduced worker exposure, and a potential reduction in regulatory requirements.
  • More information on painting equipment and techniques at the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota.
  • Paints and Coatings Resource Center



Easy ways to reduce compressor energy use:

  • Decrease the pressure. You can reduce compressor energy use by 1% for every 2 PSI reduction in pressure.
  • Bring cool, outside air into the compressor space. You can reduce energy use by 1% for each 5o F reduction in temperature.
  • Reuse the heat. Since 80% of air compressor energy is lost as heat, circulating waste heat for shop comfort in the winter makes good sense and can save you money.
  • More compressor tips from MnTAP or Compressed Air Challenge

HVAC and lighting

The Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) provides no-cost, non-regulatory energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments for small businesses in Minnesota. When you have an assessment done, a team of retired professionals will analyze your utility bills, visit your facility, and send you a written report with high priority changes and estimated financial and environmental savings.

Recommendations may be simple behavior changes, maintenance improvements, or retrofits. Average savings from RETAP recommendations implemented last year is over $2,000 per client. 


  • Start with something easy like a lighting retrofit where rebates are available and payback is fast. Check out what type of ballast you have – move away from T12 or T8 ballasts to the more efficient T5 ballasts.
  • Natural light is another great option. Once the infrastructure is in place, sunlight is free. Plus, daylighting has been shown to increase employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve morale.
  • Consider getting a reduced-cost energy audit from your local utility. Contact EnergySmart to get connected with energy efficiency programs in your area at
  • RETAP will include a lighting survey in their free assessment.


Keep good records. Make copies of all forms or applications you submit. If something gets lost in the mail, you will have proof that you did it on time, and it will be easier to fill out annual forms.

Self-audit checklists for vehicle maintenance provide a free and easy way to review your compliance with Minnesota’s environmental regulations. Topics include painting, fluorescent lamp management, wastewater discharge, tire storage, and others.