Originally Posted by photoguy
Even with these compliance issues, it may be that test and fix after it's broken is the most cost effective way of reducing emissions, but I can't help thinking that it would be better to deal with the problem upstream: e.g. make emissions equipment more durable from the beginning, encourage reduction of total miles driven, do something about motorcycle emissions (in CA motorcycles are something like 1% of vehicle miles traveled but 10% of emissions).
I agree, it's pretty tough to know what compliance level is really cost effective and what isn't. Also agree about reducing miles, and targeting motorcycles, and large trucks too.
And lawn mowers - they account for a significant % (something like mowing the lawn once equals a week of commuting) - I keep thinking we could go air powered on those. 'Charge' them with air at home with electricity, the lawn services could have a compressor on their truck, and that would be powered from the relatively clean truck engine. Air powered isn't all that efficient, but even so it would be cleaner than those nasty little lawn engines.
I think the emission controls are pretty reliable/durable, they are by nature a pretty sophisticated and precise system, I don't think we can expect much beyond what we are getting. Out of all the cars we've had over the years, I've only had a few check engine lights. Back in the 80's a bad O2 sensor, my Volvo has the intermittent sensor I mentioned (I monitor and then ignore it). On one other 90's car, it just showed the typical problems you can expect over time - a bad coil, and then a bad fuel injector. I'm not complaining.