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GREATER FLEXIBILITY FOR STATES IN VEHICLE EMISSION CONTROL SYSTEMS

Release Date: 04/05/2001
Contact Information:


FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2001

GREATER FLEXIBILITY FOR STATES IN
VEHICLE EMISSION CONTROL SYSTEMS

Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824 / milbourn.cathy@epa.gov


In an effort to provide states with greater flexibility, EPA is phasing in on-board diagnostic (OBD) testing requirements for passenger vehicles. The OBD system is designed to trigger the “check engine” light if the vehicle’s pollution control devices are not functioning properly. OBD systems have been required on all new passenger vehicles, beginning with model year 1996. To ensure that all the components of the vehicle’s emission control system are functioning properly, the Clean Air Act requires that all Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) programs include a check of the OBD computer as part of the routine inspection. EPA is amending the OBD I/M requirements to provide states with a variety of options for phasing in, from 2002 to 2005, the mandatory check of the OBD system. EPA is also allowing states the discretion to replace traditional I/M tests with OBD system checks on model year 1996 and newer vehicles. This gives states time to educate the public and the testing and repair industries about this important new emission control technology. This change also helps states maximize the cost effectiveness and efficiency of their I/M programs, while still achieving the air quality benefits of the program. The rule will be published in the Federal Register soon and is available electronically via the EPA Internet site at www.epa.gov/otaq/im.htm

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