Fortunately, I had my laptop with me yesterday to write this:
Of all the things I need to deal with this week, environmental regulations are what I'm least happy about.
In order to renew my license plates this month, I had to have the state inspection and federally mandated emissions test performed. So two weeks ago, I brought the car in to a shop, and among other things, asked for the inspection.
When Dineen tried to renew the plates online (we also got our new drivers' licenses in the mail with our new addresses - go Virginia! ) she discovered that the emissions portion of the test had not, in fact, been performed.
A phone call to the service department revealed why: I had only asked for the inspection, not the emissions test. Even though it was plainly obvious that I needed the emissions done as well, there is apparently a law forbidding them from telling me that I needed the emissions test done unless I asked about it. WTF?
So now, instead of having accomplished this weeks ago and by convenient online form, I sit here on a Saturday putting off the bajillion other things I need to do which are far more important to me, waiting in line to get the emissions test done. As we, the waiting car owners, sit in our cars, we have two choices. We can either leave our engines on as we sit and idle, spewing more emissions into the atmosphere, or we can turn them off and re-start them every time the line advances, spewing more crap into the atmosphere. I had a third option, of course - I could have left my car at home, not made this trip, and contributed zero emissions to the atmosphere today. But the law prevented me from choosing that option.
Do these test actually improve air quality in any way? I seriously doubt it. Look at California, which has the most draconian air-emission standards in the country. Has California's air quality improved relative to other states without inspections? I only have one data item, but that strongly points to NO: last year, Los Angeles overtook Houston as the city with the nation's worst air quality. Hey, hey, way to go, CAFE! If that's progress, let's keep it out of my state. Thanks.Posted by wasylik at March 31, 2002 02:37 PM