"... drove to an Illinois Air Team location for the test.
I can’t complain, exactly… the employees are always polite and efficient; since I arrived before they opened, I was first in line; it took no time at all. So, let me make this clear: I have no complaint about the Illinois Air Team site I visited; if you have to have one, they’ve always been great, in my experience.
But… why DO we have to have one?
...Today, we drive in, have the car tested, and it passes. It takes no time (if you go at the right time of day), or it’s a considerable inconvenience (if you must go when they’re busy). So as long as we have a convenient testing center, we probably don’t complain about it. Modern cars always pass, so once it’s over, you’ve checked off that chore and you can move on with your life. Probably don’t think about it again until two years later when your vehicle is up for it again.
…unless of course you drive an older car – actually, probably, a much older car – and it fails. Then you have to take it into a shop and spend a thousand dollars or so getting enough parts replaced to make the car pass the test.
But that’s okay, isn’t it, because it’s all about the goal of cleaner air?
Food Stamps and the Welfare State
We have a poverty problem in America...
Auto Pollution in the Modern Era
Now, back to where we began: auto emissions testing began when cars polluted a lot. So we take in the car, we see if it pollutes, and if it does, we must go to a repair facility to improve the car so it doesn’t pollute anymore.
It all sounds lovely in theory, doesn’t it?
But what is the truth, in practice?
This program costs the taxpayers a mint. All the land, buildings, equipment, and staff, six days a week, to perform tests on vehicles.
And what’s the result of those tests? Newer cars pass, older cars fail.
So the older cars’ owners are forced to spend money – five hundred, a thousand, fifteen hundred – to have their old cars brought up to code. If they still had that money, they might have been able to trade up to a newer car, which would have both removed the other costly repair bills of an old car AND accomplished the alleged goal of improving the air quality!
We often talk about ‘regressive’ taxes, burdens that fall unfairly on the poor. This is one of the biggest of such burdens, because it’s precisely the working poor owners of old cars who are hit hardest by the well-intentioned goofiness of emissions testing..."
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Read the whole article!