Pollution from Cars on the Road:

Problems in Monitoring Emission Controls

CED-77-25: Published: Feb 4, 1977. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1977.


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The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) inspection and maintenance (IM) and in-use compliance programs (IUCP) have made little progress in the control of automobile emissions.

EPA does not require most states to include inspection and maintenance programs for on-the-road vehicles. In the 17 states and the District of Columbia where IM programs were to be established, progress has been minimal. State and local governments have been reluctant to promote IM programs, and total funding for such programs has been minimal. Several states have challenged the government's authority to require them to carry out IM programs. Under the 1972 IUCP, 3,000 vehicles were tested at a cost of about $2.1 million. EPA decided that the data from the 1972 program did not support a recall of the five classes of engines that should be considered for recall. The 1972 IUCP program was inadequate because: (1) the program did not fully anticipate data needed to support a recall; (2) EPA did limited monitoring of the contractors' test activities; and (3) a detailed review of test data was not made until all tests were completed.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: Before proceeding with further in-use compliance programs, EPA should determine what type of data is needed to support a recall and design future programs to gather such data.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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