eGovernment and Pollution


Utah has a convenient, online system for renewing vehicle registration, but  I still hate it.  Why?  Emissions inspections.  I live in one of the counties in Utah where emissions testing is required before I can register my car and so even though I can register my car online, I still have to schlep down to the emissions inspection station and wait in line there and pay $25 to have them tell me all is well.   Registering a vehicle won't be convenient until I no longer have to do that.  I think that eGovernment can help.

Now, I'm all for clean air and doing my part, but the problem is that every year I get three vehicles inspected and every year all three pass.  In fact, my 2000 Silverado pick-up had the following readings:

Hydrocarbons (ppm) CO (%)
Allowed 800 3.50
Reading 7 0.00

What you'll undoubtedly notice is that I was so far under the specification as to be ludicrous.  All my cars are like that.  Every time.  So, the conclusion I have to make is that I spend $75 and 3-4 hours of my time every year for nothing.  It makes me even angrier when I'm following some car that I know is polluting because I can smell or see it.  They're going to go on spewing junk into the air for the next 6 months (on average). 

So, how can eGovernment help with this problem?  I broadly define eGovernment as the application of IT to the business of government.  In this case, the business is keeping polluting cars off the road.  I have a friend in Utah County who developed a van with all kinds of sophisticated monitoring gear that they park along the roadside and as cars drive past, they monitor their emissions and, if they're over limits, take a picture of their license plate and send them a warning.   Why not tale the money the government already charges me (the $75 I pay to get inspected each year) and every other car owner in Utah and spend that on infrastructure to deploy this solution more widely.   Make people get an inspection only when there is reasonable cause to believe they are polluting.  At least I'd save the time.