After 38 years of owners being required to take their vehicles in for emissions testing, Washington state has done away with the program. The Department of Ecology ended the requirement beginning on Jan. 1 because the air quality is cleaner now than in 1982 when the program was first initiated. Each state has differing requirements for their emissions tests, but they all check for air pollutants released from vehicles. During that same year, the Legislature began to reduce emissions testing.
The department predicted this due to mass improvements made in fuel used by cars now as opposed to when the program began. The older fuel that made car emissions testing necessary contained lead which caused issues for the environment and overall human health. EPA planned to ban lead in gasoline in 1985 and by 1990, it was officially banned and measures started in 1995, with the fuel being replaced with a bio-gas which is more eco-safe. Products containing lead (Tetraethyllead), a chemical compound, can cause neurological disorders to humans when in proximity and has given many people lead poisoning.
However, Graham also explained there are still large amounts of other sources of emissions affecting air quality now, although cars are the largest source. As for the effect ending emissions tests will have on the state of Washington’s contributions toward helping end climate change, there will be little change. The program was geared toward identifying carbon monoxide in vehicles rather than carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. People advocating to help end climate change don’t see ending car emissions testing as a large step towards that goal.
Although ending car emissions tests may not be considered a big deal in Wash. State in this day and age, it certainly gives hope that the state will make more changes in removing any other programs that are not needed anymore as well.
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