Vehicle Emissions Compliance

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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Issue

Many states have their own vehicle emissions inspection requirements enforced by law through their motor vehicle administration (MVA) agencies and departments of transportation. The burden of vehicle emissions compliance is placed on the consumers more than on the producers of automobiles by the MVAs which suspend vehicle registrations and issue pricey traffic violation tickets to vehicle owners.

Relevance to the people

1. Non-compliance with registration suspension because of non-compliance with vehicle emissions requirements is a criminal offense in many states requiring legal intervention in traffic courts for waivers of citations through court-appearances or trials in court, accompanied by admission of guilt of driving with suspended registrations.

2. State MVAs are laggard in their communications with consumers to educate and ensure consumer compliance while being prompt in the suspension of vehicle registrations without notice just before suspension despite the availability of many communications tools such as text messaging to cell phones and social media.

3. This is unwarranted litigiousness on the part of the government to clean the air and to enforce the Clean Air Act through a hodge-podge of enforcement mechanisms across the country.

4. Many automotive manufacturers are still non-compliant with emissions requirements, based on vehicle class. Their expected compliance timeline is uncertain and subject to the whims of pricey K-Street lobbyists hired by American auto manufacturers to influence EPA and State-level regulations.

5. Vehicle manufacturers who more than adequately comply, usually foreign car manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan and Tesla Motors (part German), are also required to arbitrarily participate in government emissions compliance programs without regard to vehicle specifications and emissions performance over time (automotives are durable goods and there is no requirement for consumers to purchase new vehicles frequently, provided they maintain them well for energy efficiency, safety and cleanliness in performance).

6. American auto manufacturers and their consumers are being deliberately treated leniently including by the Congress and the White House and on an ad hoc basis by state MVAs and local law enforcement who do not appreciate consumers owning better foreign-made vehicles.

7. Many states separate vehicle emissions testing from regular vehicle maintenance requirements when it is easier to combine the two.

8. Many states give tax incentives for people to purchase fuel efficient, low- or zero-emissions vehicles but do not synchronize emissions testing requirements with those vehicle classes.

What the States, Localities, White House and the Congress Should Do?

Place the burden of emissions compliance on the manufacturers and auto dealerships (through vehicle maintenance) as default, non-opt-out product manufacturing and maintenance process requirements. Consumers must not be liable for non-compliance.

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