I applaud the efforts of County Mayor Coppinger in attempting to finally do away the asinine emissions testing we have been subject to for so many years. Perhaps in the beginning it was about air quality but, it my opinion, it has devolved into nothing more than a way to fleece the county residents out of just a little more of their money. I'm sure the company that does the testing gets a substantial cut of that $9 so be prepared for them to speak out in favor of continuing this ridiculous so called test.
I have taken two cars in the last few weeks in to be tested. The last time was at the Hixson station and when I got there, there were 12 cars waiting in line. I would certainly like to know just how testing those 12 cars improved the quality of the air versus how much exhaust unnecessarily went into the air from all those cars sitting there idling. Twenty-five minutes later when I left the station, there were still that many or more in line to be tested.
All the counties surrounding Hamilton, in Tennessee and Georgia both, are full of residents who every day drive their car into Chattanooga for work but are not subject to an emissions test. To say nothing of two major interstates carrying untold thousands of cars and trucks through our county every day. To make the claim that the emissions test is improving the air quality here is simply ludicrous and completely disingenuous.
I own a 40 year old classic car that was driven less than a thousand miles last year. But because it came from the factory with a catalytic converter it is subject to the test unless I want antique plates which would severely restrict how my car may be driven. The only way the car will pass the sniff test is just before I enter the station I must open the hood, detune the engine to the point it hardly runs, limp into the station, hope it passes, limp back out of the testing bay where I then open the hood back up, return the engine to its original settings and go on my way. Does this seriously make any kind of sense to anybody?
I will be reaching out to Senator Bo Watson, who is my representative, and thanking him for introducing this bill. I will also be reaching out to Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, my other representative, urging her to lend her support behind this long overdue bill. The bill numbers are BH1782 and SB2656.
I urge my fellow county residents who have had enough of this emissions testing scam to do the same.
* * *
While wasting my lunch break in the long lines, I have pondered the environmentalist talking point of "don't go through a drive through as idling is the most damaging to the air quality." Here we are, idling in place while getting 0 mpg, all in an effort to help the air quality. And then the car in front of you belches and smokes before passing the "test." Then I failed because the mini van rarely gets driven anymore and since the battery had to get jumped off, the computer didn't have enough memory for their machine to determine if it was in compliance. I'll just drive it with an expired tag for a couple of days to get it gain enough "memory."
I, too, have played the "detune the engine" game to get a 1975 vehicle to pass. It involved retarding the timing by rotating the distributor and, finally, I ran E85 in it to get it to burn clean enough to meet the requirements. I ended up driving more miles in the days after testing (to rid the tank of all E85) than I would have otherwise driven the vehicle all year. Again- all of this for the good of the environment.
Cash for Clunkers and age have drastically limited the number of vehicles that undergo the tailpipe sniff test. Most vehicles that see heavy use are not the vehicles that caused concern back when emissions testing was introduced. The demographics of vehicles on the roads has changed drastically. I would love to see the data collected of the average age of vehicle, the average number of miles driven per year and the median year that had the highest average miles per year. While we are at it, let's also review pass/fail rates over the last 14 years.
Lastly, I despise the fact that you are unable to receive a title for a vehicle until it passes emission. If you buy a inoperable vehicle that needs work, you will have to do that work prior to legally taking ownership of the vehicle. At the surface, this looks like it would only affect a car enthusiast, but more realistically, it affects modern cars' resale value. If a new, fuel efficient 4 cylinder loses its turbo and the owner decides to buy a new car instead of fixing it, there is an artificially low resale value because it limits the pool of people to those willing to take a risk.
If the emissions testing centers truly produced a result, they would have caught VW's Dieselgate earlier and the fact that they passed TDI vehicles after the news broke is proof that it's about anything other than the environment.
* * *
Thank you. Totally agree, 100 percent. It was beyond infuriating to me to witness a black momma with her kids in a clean, decent 2005ish GM car getting told she flunked. From personal experience, I know that she now has to go find $50 somewhere to figure out what the "problem" is and likely another $600 to replace the converter or the air mass sensor or whatever on a car that runs fine and does not smoke. And lest the single mom be so stupid as to show up with a gas cap that ain't perfect. She'll get sent packing immediately- no test.
I get the whole green thing and I agree absolutely. We have but one Earth. Also, the guys at the emissions testing center are not happy when they flunk somebody. However, like the guy said, there are hundreds of thousands of cars that pass through this city every day that aren't subjected to this nonsense. If the green thing is associated with the political left and the political left claims to be the friend of the little guy, I wish said left would look at all of the little guys who pay most personally and dearly as a result of this ridiculousness.
I sincerely hope that this bill passes and we can all remember from now on that there are better ways to save the planet than putting the screws to ourselves for the sake of a sanctimonious, disingenuous few. Folks who own, maintain and drive cool old cars and those who have newer, more fuel efficient and well running vehicles from the factory should not be subjected to this hassle every year. Passed emissions or no tag sticker? No title? Really? Come on.
I remember Safety Lane. We were all packed into a Chevy II wagon and were in the long, hot, slow line that took for ever. Sure enough, for some inane reason we flunked and had to go get a blinker or something fixed and do the whole hot, all day slow line again. Well, Dad was hotter than hot that night when he learned about it and I don't blame him. We had Safety Lane and it went away so we learned, right? How did we get back here all over again? While inconveniencing people for a $9 fee is one thing that needs to go away, messing with our very own folks who are borderline desperate on a daily basis is criminal.
Dilly dilly to Mayor Coppinger and any other representative who favors doing away with emissions testing. Other than fees collected, I see no reasonable argument against bulldozing every test center in the state. Enough.
Savage Glascock, Sr.
* * *
Here's my two cents worth on the subject:
First, one of the good automotive magazines stated several years ago that modern American automobiles are so clean running that they actually clean up the city air they are breathing; their exhaust gases are lower in pollutants than the city air around them.
Second, for several years now I've studied that little sheet of 'information' (Yearly Motor Vehicle Emissions Testing in Hamilton County) that comes with every car license renewal form, and then tried to verify its claims by studying EPA data published on the Internet. That verification doesn't exist. Apparently Chattanooga and Hamilton County have been in compliance for years now, but we've been subjected to the emissions testing racket anyway. (Evidently it's the for-profit testing company that writes the misleading 'information' sheet to justify its existence.)
Of course I smell a rat, as does nearly every other honest car owner in the county. But there's just too much money involved for the whole mess to go away quickly. Why doesn't the county mayor defend his constituents and simply declare that the emissions testing business is ended right now, unless and until it can be proved necessary?