Mexico adopts new computer-based smog checks

Officials in the greater Mexico City area have been unable to stop corruption at vehicle emissions testing centers, so today they announced a new program to inspect most cars by computer.

Mexico City: Officials in the greater Mexico City area have been unable to stop corruption at vehicle emissions testing centers, so today they announced a new program to inspect most cars by computer.

Inspection stations currently measure tailpipe emissions with a wand-like device, but inspectors have been found switching cars and results to help dirty vehicles pass. Now, sensors will be hooked to car's own onboard computers to get the vehicle's readings on its own condition.

The process is supposedly more fool-proof and will be supervised by a central processing station.

About two-thirds of the 5.4 million vehicles in the metropolitan area are 2006 or later models, which have onboard computers suitable for testing. The other one-third can still be tested by the tailpipe sensors.

The new rules announced Tuesday will exempt cars made in 2016 and later from twice-yearly emissions checks for as long as four years. The rules are also intended intend to eliminate loopholes that have left heavily polluting trucks and buses largely unregulated.

The government plans to establish remote sensors that can detect dirty vehicles from a distance.

The rules are scheduled to go into effect on July 1 for Mexico City, its suburbs and surrounding states. But Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano said similar new rules will hopefully be implemented nationwide.

Mexico City has been experiencing an upsurge in air pollution as more cars choke its streets and expressways.

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