United States             Air and Radiation         EPA420-F-00-005
 Environmental Protection                          February 2000
 Agency
 Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Regulatory
Announcement
 Final  Rule on Flexibility Amendments to
 Inspection/Maintenance Program
 Requirements
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a Final
Rulemaking that will amend the motor vehicle Inspection and
Maintenance (I/M) requirements to allow states greater flexibility in
deciding how to apportion the emission reductions they need from I/M
versus other measures, taking into account local needs and conditions.
 Background
 The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAA) required certain
 nonattainment areas across the country to implement either basic or
 enhanced vehicle I/M programs, depending upon the severity of the
 area's air quality problem. The CAA also required that Metropolitan
 Statistical Areas with 1990 populations over 100,000 within an Ozone
 Transport Region (OTR) implement enhanced I/M regardless of their air
 quality designation. EPA, in turn, was required to develop minimum
 performance and administrative requirements to be met by areas required
 to implement I/M, whether basic or enhanced.

 On November 5, 1992, EPA issued its original rule establishing mini-
 mum performance and administrative requirements for states developing
 air quality implementation plans for I/M. For enhanced I/M areas, this
 rule included a performance standard that assumed IM240 tailpipe
 emission testing as well as evaporative system purge and pressure test-
 ing. This performance standard was amended in 1995 and 1996 such that
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the current I/M rule requires enhanced I/M
programs to produce the same or better
emission reductions as would be achieved
by one of three possible enhanced I/M
performance standards: high enhanced,
low enhanced, and OTR low enhanced.

As a result of the original presumption of
IM240 testing, some of the I/M rule's
remaining test procedure and related
requirements are too prescriptive and
might possibly exclude valid, alternative
test methodologies. EPA is therefore
taking action to revise these requirements
to ensure that innovative approaches will
not conflict with dated requirements.

The 1992 I/M rule also included a require-
ment that enhanced I/M programs provide
motorists that fail  the inspection with
computer-generated information based on
particular portions of the test. This require-
ment was again based upon the presump-
tion that all enhanced I/M programs would
include IM240 tailpipe testing. In 1995,
however, EPA was barred from  requiring
IM240 in enhanced I/M. programs under
one of the  provisions of the newly enacted
National Highway System Designation
Act. In the IM240's place, a wide-range of
alternative I/M tests have been approved
for use in enhanced I/M programs. These
tests do not produce the detailed diagnostic
information originally envisioned in 1992,
and we are therefore taking action to
change this requirement to better accom-
modate these alternative testing strategies.

EPA believes that  revisions are needed to
bring the I/M rule up to date by: (1) incor-
porating changes in policy; (2) revising
provisions to make them consistent with
the National Highway Systems Designa-
tion Act of 1995; and (3) providing states
additional flexibility to tailor their I/M
programs now to better meet current and
future needs. Among these future needs are
the need to maximize program efficiency
and customer convenience by capitalizing
on newer vehicle testing options, and the
need to accommodate an in-use fleet which
is in the process of turning over to newer,
cleaner, and more durable vehicle tech-
nologies. It is necessary to remove certain
restrictions in the current rule that would
impede that transition.
                          Final
Key elements of this rulemaking include:

   Amending performance standard
    requirements to provide enhanced I/M
    areas greater flexibility in how they
    meet the performance standard and to
    lower the overall modeling burden.
   Revising certain test procedure,
    standard and equipment requirements
    to better accommodate alternative test
    types and design, including the use of
    evaporative testing in lieu of tailpipe
    testing.

   Revising the requirements for con-
    sumer protection and improving
    repair effectiveness to limit the cur-
    rent diagnostic information require-
    ments to those programs and test
    types capable of producing  such
    information, reliably and practically.

   Expanding the options for complying
    with the on-road testing requirement
    to accommodate more recent varia-

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     tions, such as clean screening and
     non-tailpipe based roadside tests by
     removing current language that
     suggests that the on-road test must be
     a tailpipe test and include out-of-cycle
     repairs.

     Removing the current provision
     establishing the decentralized, test-
     and-repair discount, in response to the
     National Highway System Designa-
     tion Act of 1995. In addition, we are
     extending the definition of decentral-
     ized test-only to allow testing stations
     that engage in a full range of sales not
     directly related to automotive sales or
     services to still be considered test-
     only.
For
Additional documents on I/M programs
are available electronically on the Office of
Transportation and Air Quality web site at:

  http ://www. epa.gov/otaq/im.htm

For further information on this final rule-
making, please contact David Sosnowski
at:

  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  Office of Transportation and Air Quality
  2000 Traverwood Drive
  Ann Arbor, MI 48105
  734-214-4823
             for
The flexibility that this rule provides will
apply to any state required to implement II
M if the state chooses to utilize the options
for additional flexibilities. Modifications to
a state's I/M program as a result of this
rulemaking may require a SIP revision, if a
state's plan has already been submitted and
approved.

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