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ARC study wants emissions testing as part of WOF

ARC study prompts calls for emissions testing as part of WoF

The Auckland Regional Council is again calling for regular emissions testing of vehicles after commissioning a study by NIWA to test over 40,000 vehicles. The study, which was released this week, is based on a drive-by emissions testing programme which measured pollutants from the tailpipes of vehicles at 16 sites throughout the Auckland region in April this year.

It is estimated that vehicle particle emissions cause 250 premature deaths every year in the Auckland region, and air pollution levels regularly exceed World Health Organisation Standards for carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Auckland Regional Council air quality manager Kevin Mahon said the emissions testing highlighted the need for New Zealanders to tune their vehicles regularly.

“The cars tested in this study that were well-loved and well-cared for came out in the best twenty per cent regardless of how old they were,” said Mr Mahon.

Of the vehicles tested, the least emitting 1980-82 models had lower emissions than the worst emitting 2001-03 models. “The best way to motivate vehicle owners to get regular tune-ups would be to introduce emissions testing as part of the Warrant of Fitness,”

Mr Mahon said. “Another motivating factor is that a well-maintained vehicle can give a 5 per cent improvement in fuel consumption.”

As only 120 out of the 40,000 cars tested were without a WoF for more than six months, including emissions testing as part of a WoF would pick up the vast majority of polluting cars, he said.

The study found that just 10 per cent of the cars tested were responsible for over half of the total carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions, and almost 40 per cent of the total nitric oxide emissions. ARC chairperson Gwen Bull said it was time the government took action to prevent Aucklanders dying prematurely every year from air pollution.

“All we’ve been hearing from the government is educate, educate, educate, but that’s been done with the 0800 Smokey campaign,” Cr Bull said. “Now what we need is a pilot project in Auckland to trial emissions testing as part of the Warrant of Fitness and get polluting cars off our roads.”

The study also showed that Auckland vehicles emit three times the amount of hydrocarbons and double the amount of carbon monoxide and nitric oxide than vehicles in the United States. Imported vehicles, which make up half the Auckland fleet, had lower emissions on average than New Zealand new vehicles.

To view the ARC report, go to www.arc.govt.nz

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