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Upcoming Changes to Wisconsin's Emissions Program

What you need to know about how and where you will go to get your emissions tested on your vehicle.

Wisconsin’s emissions program is about to change.

Starting July 2, you will no longer be able to test at the stations you once went to. Those locations are owned by a company named Envirotest. Previously, Envirotest contracted with the state to administer emissions tests.

Earlier this year, another company named Systech outbid Envirotest for the emissions contract. Now instead of 5 company owned test facilities, there will be 200 in a 7 county area. Systech is contracting with local repair facilities to do the emissions tests.                           

What does this mean for the consumer? There should be shorter wait times. With 200 test locations the volume at stations will be much less. Test centers will be
more convenient with locations closer to consumers. There will be an increase in hours available to test. All 200 centers are required to be open a minimum of 50 hours per week to test cars.

With 200 test locations the volume at stations will be much less. Test centers will be more convenient with locations closer to consumers.

That’s where the difference ends. Everything else should remain the same. There is no charge to the consumer for the first 3 tests. All you need to do is take your registration slip showing your due for testing when you go in. Testing will be required every other year on your vehicles unless there is an ownership change which could shorten that term temporarily.

There will be a barrage of media attention giving more details before the program changes. Watch for a website showing locations of new test stations. Changes should be seamless to the consumer and if everything goes as planned it should make life easier for all involved.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steve ® May 08, 2012 at 05:05 PM
The emission testing scam needs to be eliminated all together.
David Keup May 08, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Emissions testing in SE Wisconsin has gone on far too long...
John Haunfelder May 08, 2012 at 05:44 PM
As they say don't shoot the messenger. The program has helped reduce pollution in our area. But cars and trucks are just one of the sources. The Federal goverment was proposing a much stricter air quality index which would have driven up costs dramatically for everyone from industry to car owners.
Chris May 09, 2012 at 01:01 AM
One could argue that the emissions standards themselves are what has actually reduced pollution. Are there numbers available to find out how many cars emissions testing actually catches that are not in compliance? Is the percentage large enough to justify the giant cost/inconvenience of testing?
John Haunfelder May 09, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Chris I believe it is around 4%. That adds up to about 1 in every 20 cars is not in compliance. I think without emissions testing that number would grow to over 10%.
Heather in Caledonia May 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM
John, What time frame are you looking at? Could it simply be that older cars have been leaving the roads, thus causing air pollution to go down? Cars that can't pass emissions and would cost too much to fix are often sold Up North so they don't have to past tests. The air quality in our area is greatly dependent on the wind bringing pollution from Chicago and Gary. I lived on the lake and you used to be able to see the "Gary air" hanging in a haze over the water. Haven't seen that in a couple of years. How much of our improvement is due to Gary industries improving on their air quality or shutting down? I think it's a great idea to shut down the testing stations and maybe that's a good step towards eliminating them altogether. The testing scheme has yet to prove to me that it has improved anything. Older cars are usually those that pollute the worst, but have been exempt from testing (what's the cutoff year now?). One can complain that the private tester will falsify testing to try to get business. Simple - take it to another testing station if you're told you need work and don't believe it. Maybe the Patch could investigate. What are the statistics on our air quality over the years? What are the model years of cars on the road? What has Gary and Chicago done to improve their industrial emissions over the years? What percentage of cars that don't pass emissions are transferred to another area of the state?
John Haunfelder May 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Yes Heather a lot of our problems with air quality come from the south. The DNR has done studies and I dont remember how many metric tons of ozone have been reduced by vehicle emissions but it was a substantial number. Yes older cars do create a lot more pollution than newer cars. Right now all 95 and older vehicles are exempt from testing. Reason being is they cost a lot more to test than 96 and newer vehicles. Every year the number of these vehicles on our roads dwindles and the state is trying to get the best bang for there buck. Do some vehicles that dont pass get registered to a different county? Yes I'm sure that happens but I don't know the percentages. As far as falsifying testing I'm sure it could be done but not easily. All testers have to be certified and all tests are video recorded. A fingerprint ID is required to log into system. The penatly for faslisfying tests is extreme and a repair station would be foolish to even consider doing anything like that.
Chris May 09, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I did find an article (http://www.kenoshanews.com/people/pass_or_fail_318909648.html) that says the actual fail rate was closer to 7.23%. However in the same article, mechanics noted a number of "false fails" because of OBD II errors. One in which the cause was related to power steering, and not remotely caused by an emissions failure. So what the "true" percentage of failure is, may be hard to come by. I'm somewhat confused by your statement that more cars wouldn't be in compliance without testing. All cars are tested now, approximately 7.23% fail. Without testing...that number shouldn't change. After a few years there may be a small amount of change due to prevously failed vehicles being allowed to stay on the road, but I don't see it being so dramatic as to increase by 6% or more.
Chris May 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
That being said, if we have to have testing, I'm all in favor of doing it in a more convenient and cost effective manner.
John Haunfelder May 09, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Chris the reason I said the number of polluting cars would go up if not tested is. A percentage of people wouldnt fix there car if they didnt have to pass an emissions test
Rob Painter May 13, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Yes, the emission testing is a scam for only 6 counties. All one has to do is put on their registration "kept in county." No address needed. Just pick a non-emission county. Did it for years and years! Doesn't much matter for me any more because I got tired of the snow, the income taxes and corporate taxes. Texas has none! Kind of like a major pay increase! Y'all can play the silly games that Wisconsin has to offer and there are many. Best thing I could ever do is escape that state where even the divorce court in Waukesha county can't touch me any more! Wish I could give them a hand sign from here. Enjoy!
wow!!!!! March 15, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Its all politics and money, good please john haunfeilder here is getting paid to be on Wisconsins side. The city of Racine needs money the state needs money. Wow!!!!!! Its all about money in every way! I hate Wisconsin, I hate the court houses! Every one is out for money, if they say different. We can say you are liars!!!! Wisconsin courts say there for family's, bullshit!!! Wisconsin looking after family's, BULLSHIT!!!! BOTTOM LINE WISCONSIN CAN AND WILL FIND A WAY TO ROB YOU AND MAKE YOUR LIFE A LIVEING HELL! WELL THANK YOU WISCONSIN FOR ALL THE LIES AND STEALING ARE FAMILYS HARD EARNED CASH!!!! JUST SIT DOWN WISCONSIN GOVERMENT, LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO! YOU TO RACINE COURTS!
wow!!!!! March 15, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Good please john you are just another man on the payroll to talk and sit down and tell us all about LIES AND HOW BAD YOU CAN GET OUR MONEY!
wow!!!!! March 15, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Just like the us government, wow lets force people to get health care and if you don't we are going to take your money at the end of the year! Home of the free USA. Wow did we get that wrong now! Its the home to our NEW NEW NEW ROBBERS THE USA. UNITED STATES GOVERMENT WANTS TO ROB US NOW OF OUR HARD EARNED CASH. Thanks so much. Its not so free health care. Not even home of the free any more!!!!!!!
wow!!!!! March 15, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Noticed john did not, did not comment on the others like. What Steve wrote, rob, David wrote, why cause all these guys are hard working people that talk the truth and stand up and work hard for there family's and do care. Ha ha ha john john well have any thing to try to give a lie about!!!!!!!!!
FreeThought Troy March 15, 2013 at 04:50 PM
I did see a local dealership with a big banner stating they do emissions tested. I had wondered what that was about. Thank you, John, for your article. It cleared up a lot. Thank you to the other Patch posters who asked legit questions & didn’t take up space by ranting at a guy who didn’t do anything but write an article to inform and answer “nut and bolts” questions and refrained from going political. These questions were also on my mind, and the answers addressed them. I am sure John does have his political views about all of this stuff. I appreciated his keeping it as objective as possible. There are plenty of other blogs for political rants. Trust me, I use them. John is a small business owner trying to get ahead of the game. This is a great article.
John Haunfelder March 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Thanks Troy. I knew this would turn political at some point. I try and keep my views to myself and stick to fixing or informing people on there vehicles.

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