PIFS GET HIGH MARKS IN PRELIMINARY EVALUATION
Private Inspection Facilities Performing Well
In an interim assessment of a key component of New Jersey's Enhanced
Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program, the state Department of Environmental
Protection released preliminary data to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency showing that Private Inspection Facilities (PIFs) operate more
effectively than EPA had anticipated.
Emission testing data collected from March 1 to June 30 shows cars that
failed the emissions test, then had repairs done at PIFs, were significantly
cleaner after being repaired. On average, after repairs at PIFs, the cars'
tailpipe emissions contained 54.5 percent fewer hydrocarbons, 63 percent
fewer oxides of nitrogen, and 83 percent less carbon monoxide. The pollution
reductions were similar for cars tested at the centralized lanes. (50
percent, 46.7 percent and 78 percent respectively)
"This analysis shows that motorists' investment in car repairs is an
investment in cleaner air," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn. "And cleaner
air means fewer hospital admissions and a better quality of life for asthmatics,
persons with other respiratory illnesses, the elderly, children and even
healthy individuals whose lungs can be damaged by high levels of smog."
New Jersey fails to meet federal health standards for ground-level ozone,
commonly known as smog, during much of the summer. Ozone forms as tailpipe
and other emissions combine in the heat of the summer sun.
DEP filed the preliminary report with EPA to substantiate New Jersey's
position that, with regard to lowering emissions from motor vehicles,
PIFs are successfully meeting or exceeding the state's goals set in 1996.
Prior to the enactment of the National Highway Systems Designation Act
(NHSDA), the EPA automatically discounted decentralized facilities (PIFs)
by 50 percent. But under the NHSDA, states now are allowed to claim any
reasonable amount of credit for their decentralized programs in their
emission reduction plans. New Jersey, in its 1996 enhanced inspection
and maintenance State Implementation Plan, took advantage of the flexibility
of NHSDA by claiming 80 percent efficiency credit for its network of private
The department's final report to EPA on the effectiveness of the decentralized
inspection network will be submitted June, 2001.
The analysis of the PIFs' performance is based largely on qualitative
data collected from both centralized and decentralized inspection locations.
The collected data, evaluated by Sierra Research, Inc., allows the state
to draw some conclusions about the program's effectiveness in its first
First, Shinn noted, both networks are effectively identifying polluting
vehicles. Second, the emission repair facilities are significantly reducing
vehicle emissions through repair efforts. Third, the mechanic training
programs were clearly beneficial. Finally, the overall result of the enhanced
I/M program is an across the board reduction of VOC (hydrocarbons), NOx
and CO emissions - an environmental benefit in line with the projections
in New Jersey's clean air plan for exhaust emission testing, Shinn said.