North Carolina’s bass-ackward inspection program

We all know that older cars tend to have higher emissions than newer cars. That’s why I pay $30+ per year for an inspection — to prove that my old 1994 Plymouth Voyager is still road-worthy. It’s not a great car, but in fact it gets about 25 miles per gallon, which means it doesn’t even qualify for the “cash-for-clunkers” program. Plus our Prius isn’t big enough to haul around Jim’s electric bass and amps.

One of the advantages of having a teenage son is that you get to send him to the service station to get the car inspected. You just hand him a check with the amount left blank and have him show you the receipt when he gets home.

But I was surprised last week when Jim came back with a receipt for just $13.95. The receipt was clearly marked “SAFETY INSPECTION ONLY.” No emissions inspection was done at all.

What’s the point of that? Isn’t the main reason we have to pay for emissions inspections to keep pollution down? Apparently only for cars that don’t pollute very much. You see, for cars earlier than 1996 model years, the state of North Carolina doesn’t require emissions inspections.

I did a little Googling and found out that several states don’t require emissions checks for older cars. Why? Because it’s “too expensive.” Apparently owners of clunkers balk at spending $30 per year getting their emissions checked.

I hate to break it to these folks, but THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!!!!!!

You get old cars inspected because THEY CAUSE MOST OF THE POLLUTION. Not inspecting these cars means they’ll keep pouring carcinogens and allergens into the environment until they get too expensive to fix. If we keep inspecting them, then we can identify the really bad ones and get them off the road SOONER.

By the way, the Voyager has always passed its emissions inspections with flying colors. As soon as our teenagers head off to college, though, this baby’s headed for the junkyard.

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One Response to North Carolina’s bass-ackward inspection program

  1. Mark Sample says:

    Oh, so this is why the inspection for my 1994 Nissan Altima was so cheap! And like your Plymouth Voyager, its gas mileage is way too good to qualify for cash for clunkers. But believe me, it’s a clunker.

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