Statehouse Headliners: Good news about automated car inspections — sort of

By Guy Page

The outcry about automated annual car inspections has been so loud that House Transportation Committee sought this week to give car owners merciful relief from the unfeeling, all-seeing eye of the inspection station computer.

And it succeeded — sort of, a committee member said this week.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles had announced that, under federal Clean Air Act guidelines, any computer-revealed problem — no matter how obscure or non-safety-related — would require complete repair before the much sought-after sticker could be slapped on the windshield. Gone was the common sense leeway of the human inspector. Vermonters facing huge repair bills to solve unimportant problems objected.

So this week, Transportation pondered the problem and took action: DMV will be directed to allow work on safety related-issues costing $200 or more to be postponed for up to a year. The new, more owner-friendly regulations should take effect in March.

More challenging will be solving the problem of getting electric cars to pay their share for highway repair, now paid through the state gasoline tax. Vermonters like this Shelburne Headliners reader object that electric cars are getting a free ride:

First people who buy electric/low gas usage cars, receive a tax rebate or car manufacturers do. These same people stop paying gas taxes. So already taxpayers are supporting cars driven by people who have opted out of their contribution to taxes. Plus they had help from taxpayers to reduce the cost of their non-gas or low gas powered cars. Should not these people be required to make up that difference? And also how fair is it that parking lots have electric stations so they can fuel up? I suppose these electric fuel-up stations are supported by taxes too.

House Transportation will discuss possible solutions — including utilities charging EV customers at the charging station and turning revenue over to the state — but probably won’t act this year, in part because legislative leadership thinks the process needs more time, committee member Rep. Mike McCarthy, D-St. Albans, said.

One final note on House Transportation: Bike-riding Chair Curt McCormack, D-Burlington, said new revenue from this week’s budget adjustment will be allocated to highway repair.

And speaking of carbon solutions, the authors of the $120,000 taxpayer funded decarbonization report released Tuesday committed a major blunder. The written report said reduced emissions could save prevent mortality/sickness losses in 2025 of up to $39 billion — with a B. In their presentation to lawmakers, they said savings were in the millions, not billions.

Both report and presentation left observers on both sides of the carbon tax underwhelmed. Both a fossil fuel lobbyist and a progressive pro-carbon tax legislator called it “superficial.”

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

12 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Good news about automated car inspections — sort of

  1. In Tennessee the only counties that require inspection are around Nashville, which is the liberal island in this great red state. Tennessee does not believe the EPA regulations require inspection. As pointed out previously, it’s a revenue generator and more socialist feel good legislation. The government is always striving for more ways to control your life.

  2. Other states that don’t have an inspection-junk cars on the road don’t have a problem. How about a tourist driving in VT with a junk car, that’s a problem out of the hands of the DMV. I believe back in the days when cars were made of metal, not plastic there was rust in a few years of being new, then a problem, not so now. Many states don’t use salt, WY uses a black stone material and if the Interstate is too icy, it’s closed down, I’ve had to put up into a motel.

    I see this matter being controlled. Make it so expensive to have a car in VT (Insp, gas, carbon tax, state sales tax, etc) the populace will be forced into mass transportation or live near a city. That’s the Liberal “feel good” way. A sales tax on a new vehicle at $25K for example is $1500, that funds the Liberal programs. In NH, zero sales tax. Gas prices in VT are very high, I found that in AL, gas prices are about 0.35 cents lower per gallon. Gotta love those Chittenden County legislators.

    • Its part of the agenda 21 program , Problem, reaction, solution all by design . Especially in states with a broad rural population . Make fixing your vehicles and keeping them on the road so impossible that you cant afford to do it and force people into public transit or maybe pretty soon they will be rolling out vouchers for the use of vehicles owned by the state . Either way they are hell bent on taking your guns, your ten acres in the country , your garden and your right to travel freely unmolested in a free society . They want you dependent on the state so they can control your every move ! I urge people to read 1984 . Its here !

  3. Brakes, struts, ball joints, tie rod ends, the induction / exhaust system can of worms… all will put a significant hole in the budget if repair / replacement is dictated by the inspector.

    And what of the TPS sensors x4 that indicate to the otherwise oblivious Tesla driver (and others) that the construction debris they ran over a mile or so back just might be the reason their elektrikar is pulling to one side? At about seventy bucks a whack, they need replacement when the battery dies after a ten year maximum life. Typically they last as little as six or seven years and just one failed module triggers that tell tale dash light that says “No Sticker!”. What a slap in the face insult to intelligent vehicle owners.

    We’re being priced out of mobility.

  4. One more reason why I’m selling my house and beating feet out of Vermont. The Soviet’s are in charge and I can no longer afford the State of Vermont.

    • Great move Craig. The inspection stickers are a thing of the past is MOST states. I haven’t had to have a inspections sticker since I left VT. I leave my old one on the windshield to remind me how much I loathed that time of year. It just brings a smile to my face when I still notice it on occasion.

      Last time I was in VT I did notice the station I used to use is now closes. No surprise there.

  5. Their claim of an advisory board That is making this Big Brother Inspection needed is baloney. A simple search on the internet shows 14 states require NO inspection, 13 only require smog testing in SOME Areas. So it would seem they just WANT to follow the illegitimate EPA recommendations rather then sensible common sense inspections that were controlled by the local mechanic who know’s more then the FEDS what’s safe.
    Just more of the Obomination assault on the middle class like “Cash for clunkers” Just more carboney baloney Get rid of the EPA

  6. DMV will be directed to allow work on safety related-issues costing $200 or more to be postponed for up to a year. Wouldn’t that expensive a problem be considered a necessary repair?

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