State of Oregon going to self-serve emissions testing for 1996 and newer models

From the daily paper here:
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/112695453018420.xml&coll=7
"Would you pay $39 to never wait at DEQ again?"
So you've burned another Saturday morning at DEQ getting the exhaust test and the little sticker that lets you drive without risking a painful fine?
Well, state environmental officials have a deal for you: A $39 gizmo that mounts under your dashboard, sends your car's vital emissions data straight to the state and forever frees you from a royal hassle that faces every driver in two of Oregon's biggest metro areas. If your tailpipe exhaust is out of whack, you'll get an e-mail and postcard telling you so -- and giving you 45 days to fix it. No waiting in line. No jump-suited inspector handing you a printout.
And. no, the device won't eavesdrop on your conversations, or tattle if you stop for ice cream.
"I don't care where they've been or how fast they're driving," assures Ted Kotsakis, head of the state Vehicle Inspection Program, who's leading development of the new system.
What it will do is keep the air cleaner by catching smog-belching cars right away, instead of waiting as much as two years until they show up for an inspection. And besides saving you time, it will save the state the cost of building new emissions check stations to handle the 1.4 million Oregon vehicles that need testing each time their registration is renewed.
All those cars are in Portland and Medford, where air commonly violated national health standards before the testing kicked in a couple of decades ago. Cars are the biggest source of air pollution in Oregon, and those that fail tests spew up to four times as much on average as those that pass.
The traffic is rising. Oregon will be the first state to let motorists, in effect, handle the testing on their own through two new options, provided their car is a 1996 or newer model:
1) Self-service kiosks open around the clock. Users insert a credit card, as they do at an ATM, and unfurl a cord that plugs into the car and checks the engine before clearing them to renew their registration. Payment is charged to the card if emissions pass muster.
2) A unit, slightly larger than a matchbox, that plugs into cars and collects details about the emissions system. When it's time to renew their registration, drivers can hook the unit to a home computer and send the details to DEQ online. Or they can allow the device to transmit its measurements to DEQ receivers placed at intersections, the equivalent of driving through a wireless Internet "hot spot."
It's all voluntary, and if you like things the old way, you're still welcome to go through the old-fashioned, drive-up-and-wait-in-line inspection stations.
Hillsboro slated for first kiosk
The first self-service kiosk will be installed at the Sunset Clean Air Station in Hillsboro next spring, Kotsakis said. The dashboard devices, on the other hand, will be tested first on a local fleet of vehicles such as taxis before being offered to the public about the middle of next year.
Drivers who have those can renew their registration online or at a DMV office.
Oregon leads the way with the new technologies, and other states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are watching, says Arvon Mitcham of the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.
On Board Diagnostics, a feature on 1996 and later vehicles, makes the program possible. A computer chip monitors engine components that affect how much exhaust a car puts out -- the same system that activates the "check engine" light.
It's accessed through a socket under the dashboard, where the cord from Oregon's new self-service kiosks or the remote units plugs in and collects the same information.
The state contracted with SysTech International of Ann Arbor for about $900,000 to design and develop the devices as part of a larger replacement of inspection equipment. The costs will be paid with testing fees and involve no tax dollars.
Drivers who use the new options would pay the same fees they do now for testing, plus the cost of a dashboard device if they want one. If planting a transponder in your car seems big brotherish, consider that state workers already collect the same information during inspections now.
About four of every five drivers told the state in a survey they would use the new program if it meant never enduring another inspection, Kotsakis says.
Receivers for the remote units will be stationed near busy intersections. It's not clear how many, but state officials think perhaps a dozen, Kotsakis says. They want enough so each car passes one at least every two weeks.
Receivers would detect either a signal from passing cars saying everything is working or a code noting that some part is fouling up. It could be a cylinder misfiring, a transmission malfunctioning, or anything else that affects a car's exhaust.
"With the speed of the system," Kotsakis says, "we wouldn't be able to find a freeway busy enough to not be able to pick up all the vehicles as they went by."
It should help car owners minimize repair costs by catching problems, such as a broken oxygen sensor, that if left unchecked can cause other parts to fail, he says.
It just may save your Saturday morning, too.
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Ahh, Oregon! the crypto-marxist nanny state marches on! Next comes a black box for each car, so you can pay a use tax instead of a gas tax. And get caught speeding, automatically. And be tracked if cops think they have a valid reason. Then comes the inability to modify or work on your vehicle. And Oregonians are generally dumb enough to swallow this stuff. It's time to recycle my tin-foil hat - I won't be needing it anymore!
Tom Seattle
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The emissions testing people are from the State, the cops that write tickets (except for a few OSP on I-5 mainly) are from the local jurisdictions, completely different groups, who don't talk to each other or even like each other much.

The emissions testing people don't care who fixes it as long as it gets fixed. Keep in mind they don't charge for testing unless your doing it to get a registration. You can pull your car into a testing station and if they aren't busy they will be happy to stick a tailpipe probe into your coolant overflow bottle if your wanting to see if you have blown a head gasket.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

Is that a joke? If you are speaking from experience, doesn't your inspection program use a large funnel style exaust hose to capture all of the exaust gas? (used along with dyno for IM240 testing) Or do they just have a 4/5 gas type repair-grade machine with state inspection software and the small sample probe that goes in the exaust pipe? Or both?
Toyota MDT in MO
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If Oregon can do it then why aren't there laready matchbox sized data collectors you can plug into the car computer and then take to your computer to analyse your engine without going to a service station?
How much is Orgeon going to charge people for this device? Will they sell them to people from out of state? Car owners need to know.
-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ William R Watt National Capital FreeNet Ottawa's free community network homepage: www.ncf.ca/~ag384/top.htm warning: non-FreeNet email must have "notspam" in subject or it's returned
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There are. See http://www.genisysotc.com/ Any professional scan tool has this ability. Mechanics often don't use it because a) scantools are expensive and they don't want to lose one and b) mechanics may not want to learn how to use the feature.

$39 Read the article the price is in there.

I'm sure they will sell them to anyone but unless your vehicle is registered in the state database it won't do you any good. The collector sends the data via wireless to base units that will be on the highways, from there it no doubt goes directly to the state database. It will be interesting to see if vehicle owners will be able to access the data via website or such, but there's no provisions for display of the data from the biscuit itself.
As for pulling up to an emissions testing station for a "test only" test, if you do that now you get a printout with all the emissions stuff, like HC NoX levels and such for free. Obviously once the self-serve testing stations go online, you will be able to do the same thing.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

Interesting. Oregon will have self-serve emissions testing but not self-serve gas stations...
(or do they allow self-serve gas now? I haven't been there for a while...)
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wrote:

Not yet, maybe never... too many hillbilly meth-heads ready to steal gas and accidentally start a fire.
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GOOD IDEA KEEP ALL YOUR SMOG LOCAL !!!!
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