Program will make it easier for car makers to check emission standards

The US EPA has launched a regulatory reinvention initiative that will save car manufacturers an estimated $55 million through improved procedures for ensuring that tailpipe emissions meet clean-air health standards.

The new Compliance Assurance Program – CAP 2000 – allows car manufacturers to voluntarily opt into the program beginning in model-year 2000.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner said, “The program will allow auto makers to save millions of dollars while ensuring that cars run cleanly and do more to protect public health and the environment of all Americans.”

Every year, EPA certifies that new passenger cars and trucks will meet air pollution emissions standards before they are sold. In the past, annual certification applications for a large volume manufacturer could typically amount to 13,000 pages and take 120,000 hours to complete, costing a company $8.4 million. CAP 2000 cuts this workload for certification in half – an industry-wide savings that works out to $55 million.

At the same time, the CAP 2000 program is a more effective way to ensure that motor vehicles actually achieve the emissions reductions for which they are certified. Currently, certification focuses on

prototype vehicles not yet on the road. Under CAP 2000, manufacturers will test more than 2000 customer-owned, in-use vehicles each year, providing a much larger and better database on actual performance.

If non-complying vehicles are identified, the manufacturer must test more vehicles to determine if a recall is necessary. This approach provides car makers with a more cost-effective approach for producing vehicles with more durable emission control equipment.

CAP 2000 is part of the Clinton Administration’s efforts to reduce bureaucracy in its environmental programs. Since March 1995, the EPA has cut more than 25 million hours of paperwork, valued at $762 million a year.

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