Dealers seek to roll back '80s-era emissions control paperwork
David Westcott: "There are already enough documents for car and truck buyers to read at the sale of a new vehicle."
WASHINGTON -- Under a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, dealers no longer would have to fill out paperwork assuring buyers that the emissions control systems of the cars they purchase have not been modified.
Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Gary Peters, D-Mich., sponsored the bill on the urging of the National Automobile Dealers Association, which sees the Clean Air Act requirement as a needless burden.
Passing the legislation, which was introduced Thursday, will be one of the group's top goals on Capitol Hill this year, new NADA Chairman David Westcott said during his inaugural speech Monday at the group's annual convention in Orlando.
"There are already enough documents for car and truck buyers to read at the sale of a new vehicle," said Westcott, a Buick-GMC-Suzuki dealer in Burlington, N.C., in a statement today. "Eliminating this redundant form makes sense."
The bill would strike a single paragraph of the Clean Air Act that requires car dealers to present car buyers with written confirmation that the dealer has done a visual inspection of a new vehicle's emissions system.
That requirement dates to 1981, when regulators saw a need to prevent dealers from removing catalytic converters from cars or tampering with exhaust systems in ways that could lead to more air pollution.
After cases in which emissions control equipment was modified to help performance or fuel economy, the EPA started requiring dealers to sign a form for every car sold. Supporters of the NADA-backed legislation say the requirement is not needed because few people tamper with emissions equipment today.
The paperwork is a "remnant of an outdated law," a Latta spokeswoman said in an e-mail to Automotive News.
Tampering with emissions control equipment would remain illegal under the bill. And while tampering has become less common since 1981, experts say it still occurs.
An estimated 0.21 percent of vehicles tested by the Ozone Transport Commission have had their catalytic converters tampered with, according to an October report by the group, a coalition of air pollution agencies in the smoggy Northeastern states.
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