Ontario’s controversial Drive Clean program will no longer cost motorists at the time of testing—the emissions testing program will instead be funded by broader taxation.
The testing fee will be waived starting in April, which coincides with the Ontario government’s new fiscal year.
The move to eliminate Drive Test fees at test centres comes amid changes in the way Drive Test envisages future testing. The government-run program intends to use wireless uploading of emissions data to regularly check on the emissions of every motorist’s vehicle, using the vehicle’s onboard telematics system, if so equipped, reports the Toronto Star.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray says the new automated testing system would reduce costs since car owners would no longer have to visit Drive Test facilities, thereby saving the motorist time, and the taxpayer money.
“We’re hoping within a year or two that people will not have to go to a garage at all,” said Murray.
Modern telematics systems are currently installed in roughly one in four vehicles, and by 2019 Murray is hoping the majority of vehicles will be fitted with technology enabling the wireless upload of emissions data.
In 2014 some two million vehicles were tested under the Drive Clean program, with roughly 135,000 cars flagged due to excess pollutants exiting their exhaust pipes.
Those in opposition of Drive Clean claim the program is a cash-grab with nominal environmental benefit—but the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is holding fast to its Drive Clean mission, claiming it makes a meaningful difference.
“It’s still an effective way of reducing emissions and greenhouse gases,” concluded Murray.
(The Toronto Star with photo via Getty Images)