For most people the ending of the AirCare program has been celebrated with joy: another government encumbrance has been lifted from our lives. Unfortunately for us all, this was one program that was very beneficial. Few people chose to look at the benefits they have received and instead focused on their own selfish reasons for believing the program was bad. Sure it wasn’t perfect: it didn’t get every polluting car off the road but overall it made a big difference to our air quality.
Sadly I fear that our air quality in the lower mainland will deteriorate. How many people will really care to fix their cars when it doesn’t affect how the car runs? Likely not many! And without testing to tell them that their tailpipe emissions are excessive, how would they know. While I’m not a big fan of government imposed programs this one made a big difference. And what did it really cost: $45 every 2 years and maybe an hour of your time. If you failed then yes it costs more to fix your car. Overall though, it was pretty minimal.
Because we repair failed cars we got to see first hand just how big a difference is made to tailpipe emissions after repairing a vehicle. For many repairs the differences that we made were profound: often 50 times less harmful pollutants being emitted. That makes a big difference when you consider the thousands of cars that fail each year and are repaired.
With the final year here there has been some tightening within the program around conditional passes. There will be great temptation from car owners to not fix their polluting vehicles. Pressure will be put on many shops to do the minimal repairs. Many shops may want to ‘appease’ their clients by doing the least possible. As an AirCare repair center we will now be required to clear any conditional passes with the technical department. This measure has been implemented to be sure that the program remains strong and effective until its final day.
While most folks will breath a sign of relief after the December 2014 end of the AirCare program, time will tell whether the quality of air that we breathe deteriorates. Perhaps a new program may return someday.
For more on AirCare’s 2014 changes click here: http://www.aircare.ca/newspubs-wn-news.php
Want detailed reports on AirCare’s effectiveness click here: http://www.aircare.ca/newspubs-reports.php