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PA EPA ADDS REALITY DRIVING CYCLE TO VEH. CERTIFICATION TEST

Release Date: 08/16/96
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PA EPA ADDS REALITY DRIVING CYCLE TO VEH. CERTIFICATION TEST

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1996

EPA ADDS REALITY DRIVING CYCLE TO VEHICLE CERTIFICATION TEST

Revisions to EPA's vehicle certification test, finalized Aug. l5, updates the test for increased exhaust emissions due to certain driving conditions. EPA said the 20-plus year old test used to certify vehicles for compliance with the Clean Air Act emission standards doesn't realistically account for the emissions effect of aggressive driving behavior, high acceleration rates or air conditioners' operation. These behavior patterns contribute significantly to vehicle emissions. For example, the maximum speed on the existing test cycle is only 57 miles per hour (mph) and the acceleration rates are very mild. The revisions to the test cycle will provide control of emissions during aggressive accelerations and at speeds of up to 80 mph to reflect real world driving. The Agency also found that nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions double with the use of air conditioners. The revised rule will cut these excess emissions in half, which is important air conditioners are most often used on sunny, hot days which pose the greatest potential for high ozone levels. EPA is responsible for certifying new model year vehicles for compliance with the emission standards prior to their introduction for sale in the United States. The l990 Clean Air Act requires EPA to "review and revise as necessary" the regulations for the Federal Test Procedure (FTP) to "insure that vehicles are tested under circumstances which reflect the actual current driving conditions ." The final rule is based on five years of extensive data collection and detailed analysis of urban driving behavior gathered by EPA, the California Air Resources Board and auto manufacturers. The revised FTP will begin phase-in with 40 percent of the 2000 model year fleet and end with l00 percent of the vehicles in model year 2002 (the phase-in for heavier, light-duty trucks is delayed two years). EPA said there will be significant emission reductions due to extending the same level of emission control achieved now to these new control areas. By 2020 the Agency projects annual reductions of 435,000 tons NOx, five million tons carbon monoxide and 82,000 tons non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). NMHC and NOx are primary contributors to the formation of ozone which impairs proper lung function affecting people with existing respiratory problems such as asthma. Elevated levels of carbon monoxide affects the central nervous system, the fetus and can exacerbate cardiovascular stress. The revised FTP will add $ l3.00 to $l6.00 per vehicle to the cost of a car.

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