By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Here’s another set of different governmental views, and as we noted in an earlier post, your political positions often hinge on where you stand to view the problem.
In Canada, the legislature in Quebec Province recently enacted Bill 48 which will phase in emission testing for all cars registered there. By so doing, they join six other provinces acting on air quality and health concerns for residents.
The government is taking a tempered approach and will commence the program in three steps. In 2013, a car eight years of age or older must pass an emissions test before it can be sold. The second step, to be started later, will test all cars eight years of age and older regardless of sales status, and the final step will require all cars of any age to be tested.
Quebec is looking at final implementation by 2015, the year in which it becomes committed to making serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. When it’s all up and running, planners say about 450,000 cars per year would be tested at about $60 per test. Supporters applaud the measures for both health and fuel economy reasons while opponents voice concerns about the cost of both the test and any needed repairs.
For perspective, remember that in 2013 the eight-year old rule will net in 2005 and earlier vehicles; many of those are still fairly modern cars and the emission problem may not be as deep as many believe. However, lack of maintenance remains a problem.
In noting that all vehicles require upkeep, and that some owners will face a stiff bill to pass the emissions test, a representative of a Quebec environmental group said, “ You can’t replace a catalytic converter with a cucumber.”
But as Quebec moves into emission testing, one U.S. state may be considering dropping its program. In MACS’ home state of Pennsylvania, state senator John Wozniak has introduced a bill to eliminate the annual vehicle emission inspection required in 25 counties with high density vehicle populations.
In noting that cleaner cars have made the test obsolete, Wozniak said, “Those fleets of cars they were trying to address are long gone. The intention was correct decades ago. The law worked. Industry accepted the challenge. Now it’s time to move on. Virtually all cars pass the test, and it’s time to reevaluate whether it’s just a waste of money for consumers.”
To support his point he cited statistics from the Pa. Dept. of Transportation. For the last five years, approximately four percent of all cars tested failed the initial test. In many cases, the simple repair of replacing the fuel filler cap cured the problem, and with those cars withdrawn from the stats, the total failure rate drops to about 2.5 percent.
The senator’s proposal is sailing into a stiff political headwind and is already meeting opposition from both environmental officials and a number of automotive service groups whose shops rely on performing the tailpipe tests as part of their revenue.
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