Clean Air? In CT? Hah!

Props to my Pop for prophesizing this problem. [how’s that for alliteration? more like illiterate?] For the last… I dunno, twenty years? Lemme see. Been driving for… aw, fuck me, fifteen years. I’m old. Anyway, for the last eighteen years – or so – Connecticut has had a state run emissions testing system for cars. Then, a couple of years ago, they decided to change it because they wanted to make it better. And so now it’s completely hosed. And my father predicted it all.

The way CT used to run their emissions testing was fairly straight forward and only slightly annoying: about a dozen different centers were set up and run M-F. When the program first started it was $10 once a year, but it eventually turned into $20 once every two years. The line could be long, but we got used to it, and life was good. Well, as good as having a DOT worker rev the shit outta yer car that wasn’t “registering” on their machines every 24 months could be.

Then the state government decided to make life easier for us. A nice thing that they decided to do is let newer cars skip testing until they were five years old… that excuses my Jetta, if not my Wrangler, so yay for me. They then closed the state run centers around CT and decided to let independent garages, service centers (Monro, Speedy, etc.), and dealerships apply for permission to set up emissions testing. There’s about 300 test centers now, and most of them would even take appointments so it sounds good, right? They also opted to suspend all emissions checking and dismantled the old testing centers, while the independent testing centers got their equipment and process in order.

This is where my father is a bit of a genius. He’s tasked with running a dealership in western CT and has been there for over six years now. During his time there business has grown and, with the owner’s support, so had the dealership. Even after a few different expansions to the current buildings, annexing more land, and renting more storage, they never seem to have enough room to store all of the stock that they keep on hand. Not only that, but they recently re-did their service center to be larger and offer more service bays. This garage is cleaner and more organized than the tech center of most computer stores, actually. Tile floor (which is spotless), new fixtures everywhere, heated and AC’d – not a streak of grease in sight on the floor, the cars, the equipment, or the mechanics.

And so he took a look at the state’s proposal for dealerships that wanted to offer emission testing. The state paid back a little bit of money per car tested, but the rest of the onus was on the dealership. He said no: there wasn’t enough cash coming back for the loss of a mechanic’s bay (or two), the loss of lot space and more traffic, and running the stuff (training, scheduling, etc.) They opted to pass on it.

Now, about nine months after the launch of the new testing program, the entire process is again screwed for the second time. I guess the state is making random inspections and finding that both faulty equipment and software is allowing faulty cars to pass. Or passing cars to fail. Either way, it’s screwed. And so the entire thing is shut down again, while they try to figure out who failed or passed by accident. Then those cars have to go and get retested. Again.

Good move, avoiding this particular shit storm, don’t you think?

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