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Release Date: 07/15/98
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner today proposed a rule under the Clinton Administration’s regulatory reinvention program that will significantly reduce costs and reporting burdens to auto manufacturers while providing cleaner air for Americans. The proposed program will streamline the process for certifying that new passenger cars and trucks meet air pollution emission standards. The vehicle emission Compliance Assurance Program, known as CAP 2000 (since manufacturers may opt-in for model year 2000), will save auto manufacturers an estimated $55 million annually, while continuing to protect the public health from harmful tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles.
Every year, EPA certifies that new passenger cars and trucks will meet air pollution emission standards before they are sold. Annual certification applications for a large volume manufacturer can typically amount to 13,000 pages and take 120,000 hours to complete, costing $8.4 million. CAP 2000 reduces this burdensome workload for certification imposed on manufacturers, cutting the typical application by about 7,000 pages and slashing time and costs by 60,000 hours, and $4.2 million, respectively.

Browner said, “Under this Administration’s efforts to reinvent government and make environmental regulations fairer, more efficient and more protective, EPA is introducing a new system of certification to ensure clean cars. We’re providing businesses more flexibility in how they go about achieving environmental goals and we’re eliminating paperwork and regulatory requirements where they serve no useful purpose. At the same time, Americans can expect improved air quality from CAP 2000, because we’ll be holding the manufacturers responsible for the emissions of their vehicles on the road, where it really counts for clean air.”

Under CAP 2000, manufacturers would test more than 2000 customer-owned, in-use vehicles each year, providing a much larger data base on actual performance. Tests would be required on vehicles when they are approximately one and four years old. If non-complying vehicles are identified, the manufacturer must test more vehicles to determine if an emissions recall is necessary. Shifting the certification focus from pre-production to actual in-use vehicles allows EPA to direct more resources to investigating whether vehicles are actually in compliance, and provides manufacturers with data to design and produce vehicles with cleaner, more durable air emission control equipment. The overall result is improved air quality.

Consistent with the Administration’s pledge to write regulations in “plain English,” EPA’s CAP 2000 regulations would be much easier to read and better organized. They would also be much shorter, as the number of pages of regulations would be cut in half.

EPA will accept public comments on the CAP 2000 proposal for 30 days. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register soon and is available on the EPA Office of Mobile Sources web page at

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