Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Ohio E-Check

The Ohio E-Check has been a well intentioned but wasteful program since its inception 10 years ago. This article in the Beacon Journal notes that $37 million is siphoned from 14 Ohio counties each year in an effort to determine which vehicles are not passing emissions standards. Most of that money goes to the testing company, Envirotest Systems Corp.


According to the article, 91.8% of all tested cars passed the test in 2003. The 8.2% that failed represented 160,693 vehicles. Therefore, it costs the community as a whole about $230 to identify a single polluting car. This cost, and the fact that so many cars pass, is the foundation of a political debate; particularly because the testing company’s contract is up for renewal in 2005.

I’ve made the following suggestion to my local state representatives. The polluting cars should bear the cost of testing. Testing should be free for all cars unless your vehicle fails. Once a vehicle is determined to have failed, its fee should be about $230.

This steep penalty will serve as an incentive for car owners to keep their cars maintained. It may also have a mild boost to the auto repair and maintenance economy from people preemptively taking their cars in for service to avoid the fee.


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