mad anthony

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Last month, I got a notice in the mail that I had to take my truck in for emissions testing. I was kind of surprised - I was under the mistaken impression that emissions testing was tied to registration, because my previous car had to get emissions tested right before the registration was due. Evidently, that's not the case, since I just renewed my registration a few months ago.

I was hoping to do it during Christmas break, but having crashed my truck into a Pontiac on New Year's Eve, I couldn't do that. It had to be done by February 11, so I decided to do it this morning.

In typical government fashion, the VEIP (Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program) locations are open mostly when gainfully employed people are at work. They are open until 7 two days a week and on Saturdays from 7am to 1pm. So I programed the location of the Erdam Avenue location (which is in the city, but closer than the Owings Mills county location) in my Tom-Tom and headed out around 11:20.

Getting there involved driving through a number of Baltimore's less premier neighborhoods, passing such establishments as a bar named Dicks' Halfway Inn. The center itself is located across the street from a junkyard and within sight of the sign for the Gentleman's Gold Club, a strip joint.

The wait wasn't as long as I feared - probably about 20 minutes to half an hour. Since my truck is 10 years newer than the 1996 minimum for ODB2 equipment, the test consisted of them plugging in a reader and verifying that there weren't any error codes. There is also a gas cap test, but according to the sheet they gave me after the test, they didn't do it because they didn't have the proper sized adapter. Which seems funny - my Ford Ranger isn't exactly a rare vehicle (Ford sold 54,000 of them in the first 8 months of 2008), which makes me wonder how many vehicles they actually have the right adapter for.

Actually, the whole test makes me wonder how much benefit there is. It seems silly to me that I had to have a 2.5 year old truck tested - I would guess most newer vehicles are going to be in compliance. And even if a vehicle fails, there are a bunch of waivers available - for diesels, senior citizens, for the disabled, for people who have dumped a bunch of money into fixing their vehicle but still can't get it to pass. (I want to say that vehicles with historic tags are exempt too, but I can't seem to find anything conclusive either way). Throw in the fact that people have to drive to the emissions centers, and idle while they wait for their tests (because if you have a pre-odbII car, the dynomometer/tailpipe test needs to be done with the engine "hot") , and I wonder if the emissions from the test outweighs what it saves. The $14 fee for getting a test done that I have to do doesn't exactly sit well with me, either.

But I have my test done, so I'm good until 2011 - when I'll probably post another rant about it.


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