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                                                                                         I SERVICE I,
        More  States  Are  Using OBD for Vehicle
        Inspection  and Maintenance  Programs
Vehicle inspection
and maintenance
(I/M) programs
are adopting
technology for model
year (MY)  1996 and
newer vehicles.

The Clean Air Act requires inspec-
tion and maintenance (I/M) pro-
grams to incorporate on-board diag-
nostic (OBD) testing as part of
vehicle emission inspection. A
majority of the 33 state and local
areas that require vehicle emission
tests have now moved forward to
incorporate the use of OBD tech-
nology for vehicle inspections.
Jeff Holmstead, Assistant
Administrator of EPA's Office of
Air and Radiation, observes that, "I
applaud the states that are conduct-
ing OBD checks to implement
what EPA has determined to be a
reliable I/M test for 1996 and newer
vehicles. For motorists, OBD
checks are a simple and convenient
method of identifying vehicles in
need of repair. On the national and
local level, OBD is an important
tool in improving air quality and
helping states to meet National
Ambient Air  Quality Standards."
The OBD check efficiently incor-
porates the capabilities of the OBD
system to speed the testing process,
provide specific information to the
technician to help get repairs done
correctly, and maximize the air
quality benefits of an I/M program.
The real-world experiences of states
already using OBD in their inspec-
tion programs, coupled with EPA
studies, are highlighting the bene-
fits of OBD testing and providing
us with additional hard data that
supports inclusion of OBD into
operating programs. OBD offers sig-
nificant air quality benefits, short
inspection time for the consumer,
and an accurate diagnosis of needed
repairs. Repair costs of OBD-failed
vehicles are comparable to that of
traditional tailpipe tests.
OBD is designed to monitor
vehicle operation and detect
problems as soon as they occur.
Early detection of problems makes
warranty coverage programs more
effective. Detecting and repairing
problems early can also prevent
more costly repairs later.  OBD
provides specific information to
refer the repair technician to the
proper repair procedure.


The current  fleet of more than
200 million vehicles driving on
U.S. highways is a major source
of air pollution, accounting for
approximately 77 percent of the
carbon monoxide and 45 percent of
the nitrogen oxides in our nation's
air. If not properly maintained,
these vehicles will not perform as
originally designed, causing them to
work harder, wear out faster, and
pollute more.
Today's vehicles are highly sophisti-
cated and highly efficient. All 1996
and newer cars and trucks have  an
advanced powertrain control com-
puter which uses second generation
OBD technology to manage and
monitor the operation of the
engine and transmission. This
computer is faster and more  power-
ful than a space shuttle's navigation
computer. It keeps your engine
running at peak efficiency and
will alert you to any potential
emission problems.
I/M programs have been in place in
state and local areas for many years
to help identify vehicles that are in
need  of repair and therefore excee-
ding emissions standards. OBD is
available only on model year 1996
and newer vehicles. A significant,
but declining, portion of the fleet is
still pre-1996. EPA will continue to
support traditional tailpipe testing
and will continue to monitor
OBD's performance as vehicles age.
For more information on OBD
and vehicle I/M programs, visit
EPA's Web site at
Web site: www.epa.gov/otaq/obd.htm
E-mail: obd@epa.gov
                                     Office of Transportation and Air Quality
  Printed on paper that contains at least 50 percent postconsumer fiber.
                                                       August 2002