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James E Garratt - Ontario's DRIVE CLEAN PROGRAM

Here is a question... How will Ontario's new DRIVE CLEAN program have much effect on air quality when at least eighty percent of vehicals tested are expected to pass the emissions test? Apparently the real culprits - heavy diesel trucks and commercial vehicals - will not be subjected to this testing regime.

It costs thirty dollars to have the mandatory test done and if, as expected, the great majority of cars pass, then millions of dollars will flow into the auto-repair industry, and simply help to maintain the status quo. Wouldn't it be better to direct these funds (which are, in effect, a new tax) toward R & D incentives and campaigns to encourage people to switch to truly non-polluting forms of transportation (ie public transit and hybrid gas/electric cars)?

By exempting all vehicals less than three years old from testing, the program discriminates against those of us who make efforts to wring every bit of life out of a car. From a life-cycle perspective, it is most likely more environmentally beneficial to extend a car's life to the maximum rather than 'trade it in' every few years. Any savings in air pollution afforded by purchasing a new car is, I feel, negated by the additional use of non-renewable resources, and the pollution involved in each new vehical's manufacture.

In summary, although cleaner air is certainly an important goal, the present program will do little to achieve that end. Rather, it seems to be a an attempt to 'boost' the auto repair and manufacturing industries.

Copyright James E Garratt

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