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Liberals ignore the facts by introducing a more stringent Drive Clean test

(January 28, 2013) A question that I often get asked from concerned car owners throughout the riding and province is: Are taxpayers getting good value for their money with Drive Clean? In short, the answer is no and let me explain why.

The Drive Clean program was implemented in 1999 with the aim of reducing high levels of vehicle emissions and smog that posed a serious health threat to Ontarians. Our ultimate goal was to encourage car makers to invest in better technologies so vehicles would emit fewer emissions all together.

When implemented the program made sense, but it was never intended to continue past seven-to ten- years. Today, technology and fuel efficiency standards have improved to the point that the program has become redundant--a point the PCs have been arguing for years.

In fact, according to Ontario's Auditor General, vehicle emissions declined so significantly from 1998 to 2010 that they are no longer even among the major domestic contributors of smog in Ontario at all. In his most recent report, the Auditor revealed that the Drive Clean program has had little to no impact on the reduction of emissions. In fact, He pointed out that the program's pass rate has exceeded 90 percent every year for almost the past decade.

So, why are motorists still required to pay to have emissions tests done every two years?

And, why, more importantly, has the Liberal government introduced even more stringent emission testing a month after the Auditor General's findings show the program should be phased out?

It certainly doesn't seem to make sense.

The Liberals useless new test accesses your vehicles on-board computer to detect emissions related malfunctions that are stored on the system. The strange part is--your vehicle's computer already does the exact same thing automatically by itself. If your car's emission control system is not working properly your `check engine` light will turn on to alert you of the problem. The difference now is that a check engine light--no matter what the reason--means you fail your Drive Clean test and have to pay to have it fixed.

This new test means more money coming out of consumers pockets for car repairs; it means another $15,000 investment in new equipment for local mechanics; and, it means an unnecessary $40 for dealerships to buy or sell a used vehicle.

It's a lot of money to spend on something that isn't needed.

The Drive Clean program cost Ontarians $30 million last year. With these new changes this amount is bound to go up.

It's time the Liberal government started realizing that people can't afford another dime to be spent on unnecessary programs or bureaucratic waste. The number one recommendation of the person responsible for ensuring that taxpayers receive value for their tax dollars in Ontario has told the province to reevaluate the effectiveness of this program. It's about time they listened.

The Ontario PCs believe this program should be phased out, allowing businesses to realize their return on investment while relieving taxpayers of an additional and unnecessary financial burden.


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