Sunday, January 4, 2004

E-check set for speedier testing

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Starting Monday, passing through an Ohio E-check station will take a little less time if your car is a 1996 model or newer.

New testing equipment hooks into a newer car's computer system, allowing the E-check tester to tell within seconds if the vehicle passes or fails the mandatory test. Cars older than 1996 will still have to spin its tires on a treadmill for four minutes.

Heidi Griesmer, spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the state has been working for months with the E-check contractor to install the equipment.

There are three stages to the $19.50 testing procedure required of car owners every two years. The new technology only applies to the second stage. They are:

• Entry and recording of the vehicle's VIN number.

• Emissions check.

• Gas cap check.

The entire process takes about 15 minutes; that time will be cut to about 10 minutes for people with newer cars, Griesmer said.

Still, Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs, a vocal opponent of the E-check process, isn't impressed.

"If the OEPA wishes to make the process more efficient they can eliminate it altogether," Comb said Saturday. "They keep beating a dead horse. Why waste all this money, time, buildings and energy with something we don't need."


Enquirer reporter Marie McCain contributed. E-mail

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