In addition, because the owners of failing vehicles only have to spend $450 on repairs to obtain a conditional pass, about 18,000 vehicles were not fully repaired in 2011. For 25 per cent of the vehicles with partial repairs, the emissions readings for all pollutants were actually worse after the repair.
The Liberals introduced more stringent emissions testing in Ontario less than a month after the Auditor General released his report, which found that Drive Clean has had little to no impact on the reduction of emissions in Ontario and that the program has had a failure rate of less than 10% every year since 2004.
“Technology has improved to the point where Drive Clean has become redundant,” Harris said. “The Auditor General’s findings clearly show that the Liberals should have begun phasing out the program long ago. Instead, in typical Liberal fashion, they have gone in the opposite direction, introducing an exacting new test that will only send the failure rate up.”
As if those inefficiencies weren’t enough, new-car dealers are required to perform an emissions test on vehicles once they are relicensed for a second time, regardless if those vehicles are still under warranty. This added cost is most certainly passed on to the consumer in the pricing of the vehicle.
Despite the fact that Drive Clean has almost no impact on the reduction of emissions in Ontario, the program lives on. Perhaps the biggest success of Drive Clean has been its ability to generate revenue for the government, to the tune of $30 million annually, according to the auditor general’s report.
It is totally unnecessary for late-model vehicles to have their emissions tested, but the government is only looking at increasing its revenue at the expense of car owners.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association has long been critical of Drive Clean. In light of the auditor general’s report, our association is in favour of scrapping the program altogether (British Columbia will discontinue its Drive Clean program for light vehicles in 2014, and five U.S. states have already scrapped it).