ARB Releases Smog Check II Report
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today released a report showing that the state's Smog Check II program has made progress in reducing automobile air emissions, but must make further improvements to meet its goals.
According to the report, the program, known technically as the Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance program, is reducing about 65 tons per day (TPD) of smog-forming hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxide (NOx).
Even though the program is providing substantial benefits, it is still falling short of its State Implementation Plan (SIP) goal of reducing HC and NOx by 110 TPD. The SIP is the state's "roadmap" for reducing ozone pollution, and California will be subject to federal penalties if it fails to meet the SIP goals. Smog Check is responsible for getting about 25 percent of the SIP's ozone reduction.
"Smog Check can be improved to achieve all the emission reductions expected of it," said ARB Executive Officer Michael P. Kenny.
Smog Check II is required by the federal Clean Air Act in areas that have serious ozone or carbon monoxide air pollution problems. It has been implemented in the most heavily populated regions of Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento, the Coachella and Antelope valleys, and the San Joaquin Valley.
In contrast to the basic Smog Check program, which runs in areas with somewhat less serious air pollution problems, Smog Check II has more stringent emissions limits and more rigorous testing to assure that vehicles continue to comply with emission standards through proper maintenance and repair.
The report suggests several strategies for making Smog Check II more effective. These include:
- Improve identification of gross polluting automobiles and require more stringent repairs, along with state-funded repair incentives.
- Send more automobiles to test-only stations.
- Use remote sensing.
- Improved detection of evaporative emissions.
- More stringent inspection standards.
- Expand the areas covered by the Smog Check II program.
- Eliminate the rolling exemption for cars 30 years old.
The ARB is already working with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and the Department of Motor Vehicles to correct loopholes that allow some vehicles to evade Smog Checks. BAR has also started a program paying up to $1000 to retire and scrap vehicles that fail Smog Check, and will pay up to $500 to help repair some vehicles that fail Smog Check.
If the Smog Check programs fail to meet their emission reduction goals, the state faces penalties including the loss of more than $1 billion in federal transportation funding in the Los Angeles area alone.
Today's report reflects changes made in a draft report released in April. Included are changes in the model used as a basis for emission estimates and inclusion of a new, revised ozone SIP for the Los Angeles area. The report also accounts for revised estimates of emissions caused by lost or damaged motor vehicle gas caps.