WOODSTOCK – Today Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman said the Liberal’s new onerous Drive Clean test is gouging drivers without benefiting the environment.

“I’ve heard from numerous constituents who are frustrated with the new test which has cost them additional time and money without protecting the environment,” said Hardeman. “The new test is conducted through the car’s computer system rather than monitoring tailpipe emissions meaning the cars are failing for computer glitches which have no impact on pollution or the environment.”

From 1999 to 2010, the failure rate for Drive Clean’s e-test steadily declined to 5% — down from 16%. Now, just a month after the Liberals introduced a new computerized test for light-duty vehicles equipped with an on-board diagnostics (OBD) system, the failure rate has jumped to 10.5%.

Last week the Ministry of Environment announced that, due to the high failure rate, cars which fail the test twice due to computer problems will be given a conditional pass. The owner of the car still has to pay for two e-tests, although the second may be at a reduced rate.

“Numerous drivers are told their car has failed the test simply because its on-board computer isn’t ‘ready’,” Hardeman explained. “The government’s solution is force drivers to pay for two tests and spend time and gas trying to ready their car before simply passing the car anyway without any idea the car’s emission levels.”

When a vehicle has recently undergone repairs or has had the battery replaced, disconnected or drained, one or more of the monitors in the vehicle’s OBD system may not have run its emissions testing sequence.

“To ensure all monitors are ready, the Ministry of the Environment actually suggests you should spend a few days driving your vehicle on the highway and around town,” Hardeman said. “Drive Clean is supposed to reduce emissions, but now the Liberals are encouraging Ontarians to spend days driving to solve a technical glitch before they can pay more money to take another e-test.”

The Auditor General specifically warned the Liberals last year to delay the implementation of their new e-test in order to ensure that all technical testing was completed and problems were resolved.

“Clearly this new Drive Clean test deserves a failing grade,” said Hardeman. “At a time when British Columbia is phasing out its program due to its diminishing impact on emissions reductions, it’s time for Ontario to do the same thing.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239