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Inspection fees rise by 10% as Government tightens vehicle emission standards

SINGAPORE - Vehicle inspection fees have risen by as much as 10 per cent since more stringent tests kicked in this month.

A staffer inserting an emission probe into the exhaust pipe of a car that is undergoing high-idling test at a workshop along Sin Ming Drive on April 9, 2018. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

From April 1, cars registered from 2014 will be subject to the so-called "High Idle Emission Test", which requires the engine to be revved above 2,500rpm when measuring what comes out of the tailpipe.

This is said to be more reflective of real-world emissions, as vehicles tend to emit more pollutants when the engine is working harder.

This test adds $6.42 to the $64.20 annual inspection fee for cars.

Cars registered before 2014 will be measured for hydrocarbons, or unburnt fuel. A high level of hydrocarbons suggests a poorly maintained vehicle. This test, which costs $1.07, will also apply to motorcycles registered after July 1, 2003. It raises motorcycle inspection cost by 5.6 per cent.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) was unable to gauge the impact of the additional tests, although The Straits Times understands 99 per cent of vehicles pass on the first attempt - unchanged from before.

An NEA spokesman said: "The tightened in-use emission standards came into effect on April 1. As the standards have only taken effect for a few days, we do not have sufficient data that reflects the first-time passing rate of vehicles under the tightened standards yet."

In March last year, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that the new standards for petrol vehicles and motorcycles are "similar to those already in place in Europe and Japan", and would be "easily met by properly maintained vehicles".

Motorist Jerry Lim, 51, sent his Volkswagen Beetle for inspection last week. He said the new test procedures add five or six minutes more to each inspection. "If there are 10 vehicles in the queue, it adds up," the company director said.

Asked what he thought of the new test, Mr Lim said he did not see any value as a consumer unless he gets a detailed report on his car's carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons readings. "Right now, it's just a pass or fail, and I don't know whether I need to do anything to improve the readings," he added.

Asian Clean Fuels Association director Clarence Woo reckons the new tests are a way for the regulator to lick the problem of vehicle owners leaving their engines idling for extended periods.

Emissions during idling can account for as much as 30 per cent of a vehicle's total emissions, he said.

Mr Neo Nam Heng, adviser to the Automotive Importers and Exporters Association, said the Government could remove the $10,000 levy on imported used cars to improve air quality. This levy, he said, was unnecessary, and currently encourages the import of used luxury cars as it made mass market models uneconomical.

"Instead of having people extend the lifespan of their 10-year-old cars, why not let them buy newer, greener used cars from Japan," he said, adding that the price of a three-year-old imported used Toyota Wish would be merely 35 per cent costlier than the cost of extending the lifespan of a 10-year-old equivalent here. The $10,000 levy widens the price difference to 55 per cent.

Source: The Straits Times

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