mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I'm about to emit something...

A couple days ago, I got a notice in the mail from the Maryland DMV that I had to have my emissions checked.

As a Maryland transplant from NJ, I'm new at this whole emissions testing thing. NJ has inspections - they used to be annual, now they are every two years. The NJ ones include both emissions and safety testing. The Maryland test is just emissions. So if your car is emitting a little to much carbon dioxide, the state wants to catch that. If you have no functioning headlights and your brakepads are tissue-paper thin, that's OK.

This week is spring break, so it's one of the few that I didn't have class at night. I drove to the Erdam Avenue inspection station.

You know how some neighborhoods are really crappy, but you can tell that at one time they were a nice neighborhood? Not the area where the MVA inspection station is. It's a collection of warehouses, adult bookstores, bars I would be scared to walk into, and used-car dealers surrounded by barbed wire, in case anyone wants to jack an '85 Dodge Aries with no paint on it.

It's kind of a wierd inspection for a first-timer. You wait in line with a bunch of other cars that all have their engines on (since you are supposed to keep your engine on for best results). I wonder how much C02 is released by cars waiting for the test. The fact that only emissions and not safety are tested also gets me - the 10 year old Dodge Shadow in front of me had a broken taillight.

I pulled into one isle, then noticed that the sign on another isle said "4wd/awd/traction control vehicles use this lane". My car has traction control, so I move over.

It ended up not mattering, as they didn't put my car on the dynomometer (or as they call it, the "treadmill") - just plugged it into a machine to check for ODBII codes.

So now I'm legal, and $14 poorer. I have to wonder how efficient this whole process is - my guess is most cars pass. Even if you fail, you can still get a waiver if you are old, disabled, or spent $450 but still didn't fix it.

But it does keep lots of MVA employees employed...


At 7:35 PM, Blogger CGHill said...

Down here in Oklahoma, we're not under quite such strict emissions rules (yet), and the perfunctory once-over given by bored mechanics for the miserable $5 fee wasn't worth the effort, so we actually got rid of the entire inspection system.

Weird, isn't it?


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