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U.S. EPA TOUGHENS EMISSIONS TEST FOR CARS AND TRUCKS

 U.S. EPA TOUGHENS EMISSIONS TEST FOR CARS AND TRUCKS
 SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Administrator William K. Reilly today announced the signing of a final rule requiring an expanded vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) program for areas of the United States with significant air pollution problems. Areas with the worst air quality must put into place a new, high-tech testing system that will be three times more effective than current inspection programs in reducing emissions from improperly maintained cars.
 In California and Nevada, which have existing vehicle I/M programs, several areas will be required to put enhanced, high-tech systems into place. They include the Los Angeles/South Coast air basin, urban Ventura County, San Bernardino, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Las Vegas.
 "The high-tech testing program will provide the largest emission reduction of any pollution control strategy U.S. EPA has thus far identified," said Reilly. "We project that vehicle emissions in the most polluted cities around the country will be reduced by 28 percent for hydrocarbons, 31 percent for carbon monoxide, and 9 percent for oxides of nitrogen.
 "The new program will be more accurate in testing today's computerized high-tech cars," Reilly noted. "And by focusing more fully on maintenance, this new test will allow us to continue to reduce overall vehicle emissions even in light of the rapidly growing number of miles Americans are driving." Americans drove two trillion miles in 1990 -- double the number driven in 1970.
 Nationally, 181 urban areas will be required to have at least basic emissions testing programs, up from 125 areas that now require testing. Eighty-three of those areas must employ a more stringent, high-tech system than is currently in place. To meet the more stringent standards, it will be virtually impossible for states such as California to continue allowing test and repair functions to be carried out under the same roof.
 States must submit to U.S. EPA a detailed testing program -- and have passed the legislation needed to institute the program -- by Nov. 15, 1993. The state I/M plans may vary, but must meet U.S. EPA performance standards as spelled out in the new rule.
 "U.S. EPA considers implementation of the high-tech I/M program to be absolutely essential to achieve national health-based air quality standards by the deadlines mandated in the Clean Air Act," said David Howekamp, director of the Air and Toxics Division at U.S. EPA's western regional office. "We expect legislation to be introduced in California and Nevada by early 1993 that will put stronger state programs into place."
 In most U.S. cities, vehicle emissions from the tailpipe and fuel evaporation from the engine and fuel tank account for 50 percent of all hydrocarbon emissions--the main contributor to smog, or ozone; 90 percent of carbon monoxide emissions; and 90 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions. Currently, 104 areas of the country are not in attainment with the federal ozone standard or the federal carbon monoxide standard. Over 100 million Americans live in these areas.
 Although manufacturers must adhere to increasingly strict emission standards for new vehicles, emissions from aging cars and trucks are three to four times the new vehicle levels, with 10 to 30 percent of the high-emitting vehicles causing the bulk of the air pollution problem. The primary reason for these higher emissions is improper vehicle maintenance.
 The new high-tech I/M program provides the largest emissions reduction potential for ozone-forming emissions of any pollution control strategy identified thus far. At a cost of $500 per ton for reducing volatile organic chemicals, it is also one of the least costly strategies. The program, which is 10 times more cost-effective than additional controls on stationary sources of air pollution, is expected to save California more than $400 million per year in clean air costs.
 The new high-tech emissions testing program is intended to be more compatible with today's computerized vehicles. The test simulates actual driving conditions and allows more accurate measurement of tailpipe emissions than today's most commmonly used inspection test, which measures emissions only during engine-idle conditions. The new program also includes a pressure check and a check of the "purge" system to identify evaporative emissions leaks. The high-tech test will also accurately measure nitrogen oxide emissions, which current I/M programs do not measure.
 U.S. EPA said the history of the I/M program has shown the engine-idle test and visual tampering checks of emission control components work well for pre-1981 cars with carburetors, but that newer cars with electronic sensors and computers have to be tested during high-emission acceleration and deceleration modes to reliably identify excessive emission levels. Enhanced I/M tests will be conducted on roller machines called dynamometers in order to more accurately recreate driving conditions.
 U.S. EPA estimates that fuel economy savings of 7 to 13 percent should largely offset the cost of repairs resulting from failure to pass the new test and result in a savings of about 15 million barrels of oil per year. Thus, overall it is likely to be no more expensive to car owners than today's inspection programs.
 As a result of the large emission benefits and affordable cost, U.S. EPA has seen unprecedented support for this rule from many groups. A partial list of supporters are: The American Automobile Association National Office (AAA); National Resources Defense Council; the Governors of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota; the Small Business Legislative Council; the Motor Vehicles Manufacturers Association and the American Petroleum Institute.
 -0- 11/5/92
 /Contact: Bill Glenn of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1589/ CO: U.S. EPA ST: California, Nevada IN: SU:


GT -- SF005 -- 7754 11/05/92 13:05 EST
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Date:Nov 5, 1992
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