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Emissions-testing trial helps to improve imports

Media Release: October 11 2006

Emissions-testing trial helps to improve standard of used vehicle imports

The AA and a Japan-based inspection company JEVIC, have just completed an emissions-testing trial on over 3000 used vehicles bound for New Zealand.

Initiated by the Ministry of Transport, the trial means that vehicles are subject to an emissions tail pipe test before export to New Zealand.

Stella Stocks, General Manager of AA Technical Services, says the AA were keen to get involved in the trial to provide motorists with real information on the emissions standards of used imports, which will enable car buyers to make an informed choice when purchasing a used vehicle.

“Current rules only require vehicles imported into New Zealand to have been built to the emissions standards applied when that vehicle was first manufactured – it is not required for them to show whether they still meet these standards when they are registered here. Because of this there are varying opinions out there as to the overall emission standards of used vehicle imports coming into the country.”

“The actual emissions-testing trial we have undertaken will provide the Ministry of Transport with exact data on the emissions standards of Japanese imports.

“We believe this trial is a step to improving the overall quality of used vehicle imports coming into New Zealand. We support any initiative that improves the emissions of used vehicle imports – this provides motorists with the assurance their vehicle has met the relevant testing standards.”

Iain McGlinchy, Principal Adviser – Environment with the Ministry of Transport, says information from the trial data will help determine the future direction of any emissions-based policy.

“A lot of misconceptions exist as to the standard and quality of used vehicles being imported. Approximately 10,000 used vehicles are imported here each month so obviously we don’t want to bring junk into the country – we are pleased to see from preliminary results the number of vehicles that passed the emissions test.”

Data from the trial is currently being analysed by the Ministry of Transport.

“In the long term, this trial could assist with better running and performing vehicles being imported. This benefits both the environment and consumers”, he says.

In an effort to reduce vehicle emissions and clean up air quality, the Government has recently introduced the ‘visible smoke test’ to Warrant of Fitness inspections. Effective from October 27 – if a vehicle produces clearly visible smoke, repairs must be undertaken before it can go back on the road. The emissions test being used on imported vehicles in the trial is a more sophisticated test than the ‘visible smoke test’, as it can measure the invisible emissions as well as the visible ones.

Euan Philpot, JEVIC’s New Zealand Manager explains what the emission tests consist of: “petrol vehicles are subject to a tail pipe probe that measures the levels of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emitted when the engine idles. Diesel vehicles are subject to a different test to measure levels of smoke and soot emitted under varying levels of load.”

“There is an advantage to the buyer in having the vehicle tested. If a vehicle fails it’s usually an indicator there is something wrong with the engine or exhaust catalyst,” he says.

Vehicles that passed the emissions test and meet an approved standard will feature an AA-JEVIC ‘Emissions Tested’ sticker on the right rear window. JEVIC and the AA have also been business partners in odometer inspections since 2004.


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