Drive Clean tests not needed until vehicles turn 7 years

Posted September 2, 2011 by in News | No comments yet

TORONTO — Thousands of Ontario drivers will get a break from the province’s mandatory Drive Clean program, as long as they keep their car or light truck for seven years.

The emissions tests that are required every two years once a vehicle is five years old will be delayed until they hit seven years, government sources confirmed late Wednesday.

The government believes the technology has improved, in both cars and the tests themselves, to the point where starting the emissions tests at seven years is as effective as it used to be when the tests started at five years.

“It will save people money, and the pain of having to get their car tested,” said one source.

About 11.1 per cent of cars and light trucks fail the emissions tests, which cost about $30 plus HST.

There is also a $450 repair cost limit. If drivers who fail the emissions test spend that much to correct the problem they will be given a conditional pass for two years.

The formal announcement from the Liberal government of the updating of the Drive Clean program is expected within the next few weeks.

There will be other changes as well to eliminate situations where a vehicle is required to undergo two tests in two years, which can happen when a driver buys a car after having leased it, or when there’s a transfer of ownership within a family.

The government says Drive Clean, which started in 1999, reduced smog-causing emissions by an estimated 266,000 tonnes in its first 10 years. There were over 32,000,000 tests conducted on cars and light trucks during that time.

The Ministry of the Environment is phasing in new testing technology it expects will reduce emissions from vehicles by 20 per cent over what can be achieved with the current test.

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