Emissions program ends after 25 years

Posted: Monday, January 04, 2010

FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks' vehicle emissions program has ended after 25 years.

Vehicles in the Fairbanks North Star Borough will no longer will have to undergo inspections and emissions tests.

The borough adopted the program in 1985 as part of the municipality's effort to curb carbon monoxide emissions. However, carbon monoxide levels in Fairbanks have been in compliance with federal standards since 2000.

Chuck Machetta, chairman of the I/M and Air Pollution Control Commission, said it was always the plan to end the Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program once carbon monoxide levels improved. Officials credit the program for removing 3 tons of carbon monoxide from the air every day, but many people believe emissions improved because of better automobile technology.

Vehicle inspections consisted of three parts: a visual examination of emission components, a test of the components and a tailpipe reading of emissions at idle and at cruise speed. The program ended Dec. 31.

"It is satisfying," said Frank DeLong, a longtime critic of the program. "I just think the money that we spent on it could have been used for other issues more beneficial for the community."

Borough Transportation and Air Quality Director Glenn Miller predicts people who parked vehicles because they couldn't meet the emissions standards will begin driving them again. Even so, Miller expects the community to remain in compliance as far as carbon monoxide emissions.

"We still have enough cushion in our emissions inventory to deal with that," he said.

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