Once again government findings are reflecting what the NMA has been saying for years. A recent report by a National Research Council Committee (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) has stated that state vehicle emissions inspection programs are wasting much of their effort and should refocus on older malfunctioning vehicles that produce most of the pollution.
The report, which was requested by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), has concluded that current programs are only reducing half the pollution that had been promised. Evaluations by independent and state-sponsored agencies show that the EPA and other state agencies used flawed computer-models. The result was an overestimation of the reduction that inspection and maintenance programs had on vehicle emissions.
Even though the report came to the conclusion that the programs are ineffective, it was also vacillating in that it turned around and stated t hat “these programs are absolutely necessary to reduce harmful auto emissions and achieve better air quality.”
The report also found that while older and malfunctioning vehicles make up about 10 percent of the vehicles on the road, they emit half the worst pollutants. These are the vehicles that need to be targeted, not newer or well-maintained cars.
However, the committee suggested that many older vehicles are owned by people who may not be able to afford repairs to their car or a newer car. Thus, they suggested that financial relief or other incentives to help these drivers should be explored.
The committee also suggested that if you exempt recent cars from the tests along with reducing the frequency of testing vehicles that have low failure rates, emission testing programs could become more cost effective.
In other words, focus clean air efforts on those vehicles that are actually a problem and you will achieve more dramatic results with less effort and money expended. And, you won’t be inconveniencing those who aren’t part of the problem.