Two provinces get tougher on emissions

Ontario, which has had Drive Clean regulations since 1999, is changing the way testing is conducted.

Ontario Drive Clean

 If you live in Ontario or Quebec, big changes are due to take effect in 2013 regarding passenger vehicles and emissions testing.

The Quebec Legislature tabled a bill in December that will phase in emissions tests for all light vehicles. Environment Minister Pierre Arcand says the government intends to issue public tenders, seeking a partner such as the Canadian Automobile Association, to operate the program.

In the first phase, all light cars and trucks eight years and older will require an inspection certificate before they can be sold. In the second phase, emissions tests will be required of all vehicles eight years and older, whether they are being sold or not. The test itself will cost $60.

In Ontario, which has had Drive Clean regulations since 1999, the changes which go into effect in January are in regards to the way testing is conducted. Emissions tests still will be required of all vehicles in the corridor from Windsor to Ottawa when they reach seven model years old or are sold to non-family members. The price of the new test stays at $35.

The Ministry of the Environment says the new testing equipment – called on-board diagnostics, or OBD – works faster than the previous tailpipe test and can more accurately identify problems by reading the emissions information stored in each car’s built-in computer. The ministry claims OBD is also better at identifying any needed repairs.

However, OBD will only work on newer cars with modern computers. Vehicles built from 1988-1997 will be required to pass the old test. To find a Drive Clean facility equipped to test older vehicles, or to check on the emissions history of a vehicle, go to the Drive Clean website.

Although new to Ontario, OBD testing is used in British Columbia, as well as New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Virginia.

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