Friday, May 14, 2010

Tailpipe

Where I live we have this government money-grab called Air Care. It's a mandatory vehicle emissions inspection. You cannot get your vehicle insured without a pass from this branch, which claims to have reduced vehicle emissions by yadda yadda percent sinced the year yadda yadda. Thanks for doing your part for clean air!

You pay in the forty dollar range for the first inspection. If you fail that, you pay in the twenty range for the re-inspection. You drive your vehicle into their testing station, where the car or truck goes on rollers. You get out of your vehicle and must enter a booth to the side where a speaker starts up in monotonous tones about how much Air Care is helping to reduce carbon emissions, while one of the test-people gets in your vehicle, having hooked up the appropriate apparatus, and proceeds to pin the rpm gauge at an unhealthily (for the car) consistent high while a computer records all the emission data.

The diagnostic test goes according to three sections:

Hydrocarbons (HC)

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx).

On March 6th. at 12:18:53 ($45.00 amount paid) my test results were as follows:

Hydrocarbons: 0.4237 (Maximum Allowable: 0.5000) Result: Pass

Carbon Monoxide: 4.4621 (Maximum Allowable: 9.3200) Result: Pass

Oxides of Nitrogen: 1.7048 (Maximum Allowable: 1.2400) Result: Fail

Final Result: Fail

You see, I simply drove my car in with some extra time I took at lunch during work. I should not have done that. And I knew at the time that I should not have done that. But I didn't listen to myself. I was cocky from the time I got my last pass - the time in which I had driven my car for at least an hour before taking it in.

What you do is get some of the most expensive gas at the station - not the regular fuel. Then you drive around for at least half an hour, preferably along lonely stretches, or the freeway, where you can bomb it, and get your engine as hot as possible. If the weather outside is hot, all the better.

I know my car needs a new catalytic converter (the part on the exhaust that burns off and reduces lots of the emission garbage), but one can still get through Air Care without, granted other areas of your vehicle are in good working order.

On May12. at 15:30:16 ($23.00 amount paid) my test results were as follows:

Hydrocarbons: 0.3439 (Maximum Allowable: 0.5000) Result: Pass

Carbon Monoxide: 2.9597 (Maximum Allowable: 9.3200) Result: Pass

Oxides of Nitrogen: 1.1173 (Maximum Allowable: 1.2400) Result: Pass

Final Result: Pass

I drove my car around for around an hour and a half with some highest quality gas in it before going in. If I were to take my car in tomorrow, going straight to the testing site without driving it around for some time, I would very likely get a fail. In fact, a fail would be guaranteed. The pass is good for two years.

You see how arbitrary and ridiculous this so-called Air Care is? This is no secret. Everybody knows the ways of getting a pass. The government knows. But we all play the charade. The government gets the money. We hand it over, elated when we pass simply because it means we don't have to worry about either a hefty mechanic's bill or the thought of having to do a re-test before one's insurance runs out.

And that is how the government operates, by in effect saying: in order to avoid the hairy problems that we as a government have negatively effected alongside our effecting of the complex social system - a social system which does nothing but ensure the negative outcomes of fines and fees - you give us money.

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