RD46 - Remote Sensing of Vehicle Emissions in Virginia
This report has been prepared in response to Item 383 of the 2003 Budget Bill, which has the following provisions:
"C. The Department of Environmental Quality is authorized to use up to $300,000 each year from the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program Fund to implement the provisions of Chapter 710, Acts of Assembly of 2002, which authorizes the Department to operate a program to subsidize repairs of vehicles that fail to meet emissions standards established by the Board when the owner of the vehicle is financially unable to have the vehicle repaired.
F.1. The Department of Environmental Quality shall initiate, beginning January 1, 2004, a program for on-road testing of motor vehicle emissions pursuant to § 46.2-1178.1, Code of Virginia, in all areas designated nonattainment for the 1-hour ozone air quality standard as of January 1, 2003. The Department shall develop a plan for implementation of this program and shall include a schedule to phase in on-road testing to enhance the current emissions inspection program, consistent with the federal Clean Air Act.
2. The Department shall also develop a plan to implement a program for on-road testing of motor vehicle emissions pursuant to § 46.2-1178.1, Code of Virginia, in all areas designated nonattainment for the 8-hour ozone air quality standard as of July 1, 2004. This plan may also include on-road testing of emissions in areas that opt into Early Action Compacts for ozone and jurisdictions that are contiguous to designated ozone nonattainment areas. The plan shall include recommendations as to any amendments necessary to the Code of Virginia to implement and provide adequate funding for the program.
3. The Department shall work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to secure approval of on-road sensing to enhance the current emissions inspection program and shall identify any barriers to such approval.
4. In completing these plans and implementing the provisions of subparagraph 1, the Department is authorized to expend such funds as may be required from the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program Fund. In completing these plans, DEQ shall contract with a private sector vendor which has experience in remote vehicle emission testing.
5. The Department shall provide these plans to the Governor, the Chairmen of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, Appropriations, Science and Technology and Transportation Committees and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, Finance and Transportation Committees, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science by October 1, 2003."
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has determined that the use of remote sensing devices (RSD) is the only cost effective means of performing “on-road testing” of motor vehicles. Remote sensing has been included in the Virginia State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted to EPA. DEQ plans to use remote sensing as a supplement to the existing vehicle emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program in Northern Virginia and is considering using remote sensing as the foundation of a new emission test program in proposed new “8-hour ozone standard” nonattainment areas.
Currently, gasoline powered vehicles up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating that are registered in the Northern Virginia I/M area are required to pass (or receive a waiver) an emissions inspection every two years before the vehicle can be registered. The I/M test consists of emission control component checks and a tailpipe test, either the acceleration simulation mode (ASM) test or the two-speed idle (TSI) test, depending on vehicle model year, type and drive train configuration. DEQ plans to implement a new testing procedure, the on board diagnostic (OBD) test, for certain vehicles in 2004.