The Opus Emissions Industry Newsletter, May 2018
Dear Opus Customers:
Welcome to the May 2018 edition of our quarterly newsletter. We’ve combed a number of publications, blogs, and websites in search of articles that you will find both interesting and informative.
I hope you enjoy it. This is your resource, so please feel free to share your comments and suggestions for improvement.
And, of course, thank you for choosing Opus!
Opus Inspection, Inc.
Press Contact: Sandra McCulloch, CEO, Opus Inspection, Inc. Sandra.McCulloch@opusinspection.com
In this Issue…
In our Feature Stories below, 18 states file suit to prevent proposed changes to Obama-era greenhouse gas regulations, and Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory announces that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a level not seen in millions of years.
Opus has been busy through the first half of 2018, with key acquisitions, creation of a new division to address new complexities in automotive technology, and landing a new concession in South America.
See our news digest in The Latest from Opus Inspection below.
- Air quality gains begin to lag as new challenges arise from a variety of sources
- Scientists are startled to find an unexpected emission source peaking along with rush hour traffic
- The economic pros and cons of Trump administration plans to ease fuel efficiency standards are examined
- The WHO notes 14 of the 20 of the world’s most polluted cities belong to India
- Government authorities in Calcutta implement data link between testing stations and the national vehicle registry
- Kenworth debuts their prototype CNG/Hybrid tractor
- You Tube channel explains the mysteries of automotive engineering
- Arizona announces $40 million settlement with VW
- New York resident arrested for possession of fake inspection sticker
- State police crack down on sticker fraud in Maine
- Arkansas motorist’s call for resumption of safety inspections catches local news coverage
- Maryland launches vehicle recall alerts as part of the state’s registration notification
- Oregon offers remote vehicle inspections using telematics
- “Improvised” sticker, and stretcher that went with it, didn’t impress Massachusetts patrol officer
Seventeen states join California in suing to protect Obama-era greenhouse gas rules
At a time when the transportation sector has outstripped the production of electric power to become the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, the Trump Administration has announced plans to “reconsider”greenhouse gas emissions rules for the country. Now 18 states are suing the Trump administration, saying that EPA under Scott Pruitt acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in changing course on the greenhouse gas regulations. While at least one auto industry consortium supports the Trump roll-back plans, some auto execs say the changes weren’t asked for. Washington Post
Observatory record shows CO2 just breached the 410 ppm mark
The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii just recorded a carbon dioxide reading on 410.28 ppm, the first time the planet has seen that level in millions of years. The CO2 level stood at 315 ppm when the first reading was taken at Mauna Loa in 1958. The increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is just one metric. The planet has already warmed 1.8°F (1°C), including a run of 627 months in a row of above-normal heat, sea levels have risen about a foot and oceans have acidified. (Ed. note: This article came out in mid-April, before the recent eruption of Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea.) Scientific American
Mauna Loa Observatory. Photo: Sharloch Flickr
Testing & Regulations
Faltering air quality gains tied to slowdown in emissions reductions
A new nationwide study based on satellite measurements show that after decades of improvement, reductions in smog-forming emissions have recently slowed dramatically. Researchers have cited a number of contributing factors, such as diminishing returns from cars and power plants, increased relative contributions from industrial boilers, residential
water heaters, and construction equipment, though wafting smog from Asia appears not to be a factor. Significantly, findings show that diesel truck emissions systems are currently less effective than anticipated by regulators, as their standards are more recently mandated and less advanced than passenger cars.
Los Angeles Times
“Personal plumes” combine with car exhausts in rush hour emission spikes
A new study by scientists at the NOAA and CIRES have discovered that emissions from personal care items, such as shampoo, lotions, and deodorants rival vehicle tailpipe emissions. What’s more, volutile organic compound (VOC) markers such as benzene (in auto exahaust) and siloxane (personal care products) were found to spike during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The study reaffirms that as the environmental impact of vehicle emissions diminishes, other factors begin to present themselves.
Lower fuel-efficiency standards good or bad for the US auto industry?
As automakers and auto suppliers plan five years in advance, the implications of Trump administration plans to roll-back Obama-era fuel economy standards are far from clear. Automakers may look forward to saving the costs of complying with the current, more stringent standards, but auto suppliers see pitfalls ahead with the proposed rule changes. The economics can get tricky, especially if Europe and China win the fuel efficiency competition, and if gas prices spike (as many feel they will eventually), causing less fuel efficient pickups, SUVs, and crossovers to remain on showroom floors while customers look elsewhere for more affordable transport options. Jalopnik.com
India claims dubious distinction of 14 of the 20 most polluted cities
According to World Health Organization data, of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world, 14 are in India. Leading the list is Kanpur with an average PM2.5 level of 173, which is 17 times the higher than the WHO’s safe limit. Dependence on polluting fuels and burgeoning construction has contributed to the nation’s woes, along with India’s weak regulatory response to the problem. Many point to China’s government mandated “war on pollution” as a model for how India should approach the problem. In the same study, the WHO calculated that 4.2 million people died in 2016 as a consequence of air pollution.
Testing stations in Calcutta to be linked to National Database
At least 66 testing centers in Calcutta will soon be linked with e-Vahan (National Registry of vehicles) through a National Informatics Centre (NIC) network. The effort is intended to shut down testing fraud and forged certificates. Testing centres found to have issued fake or tampered inspection certificates will be permanently shut down by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The Telegraph (India)
Technology, Tools & Gear
Prototype Kenworth CNG Hybrid tractor debuts at expo
The Kenworth T680 tractor made its debut at the Advance Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. The prototype tractor is part of the Hybrid Emission Cargo Transport (HECT) demonstration project funded in part by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the U.S. Department of Energy and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Equipped with a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, “the T680 HECT truck uses the Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero (NZ) emission engine…fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG), in combination with a generator to extend the truck’s battery range. The truck has a 30-mile zero emissions range using the electricity stored in the lithium-ion batteries. When the batteries are depleted, the near-zero emission engine turns on to generate more energy and extend the truck’s range up to 250 miles.”
Green Car Congress
Spelling errors aside, this clutch video is pretty neat
Ever have difficulty explaining how a clutch works in a manual transmission? Just pull up a You Tube video. “Understanding Clutch” is but one remarkably detailed animated video to be found on You Tube channel “Learn Engineering.” Though the article only mentions the one video (and the admonition to never trust an engineer who can spell), “Learn Engineering” has an extensive library worth checking out. Jalopnik
Arizona: State reaches $40 million settlement with VW over cheating scandal
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Arizona has reached a $40 million settlement with Volkswagen over advertising claims related to the nationwide emissions cheating scandal. Consumers who bought or leased qualifying diesel vehicles manufactured by VW, Audi, and Porsche from 2008 through 2015 must be paid up to $1,000 each for a combined $10.5 million in direct restitution. The automaker must also pay $20 million for state public education funding, legal costs, and future fraud investigations. ET Auto (Economic Times)
New York: Clifton Park resident arrested for possession of fake inspection sticker
State troopers arrested 69-year-old Melanie Stracuzzi of Clifton Park, NY on felony forgery charges after they saw a fake state vehicle inspection sticker on her car. Stracuzzi was issued an appearance ticket for Clifton Town Court, and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
Maine: Sticker fraud may be an art form, but state police still cracking down
According to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the average passenger car with an active registration is 9.3 years old and the average number of miles is 100,131. The state’s law mandating annual safety inspection, which has survived several challenges in recent years, is enforced by Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit of the Maine State Police. The unit oversees a network of 2,600 inspection stations-private auto service businesses-and 8,000 inspectors. The state has recently stepped up their anti-counterfeit efforts with new security measures, but fraud still keeps officers on their toes. Portland Press-Herald
Focus on Safety
Arkansas: Hot Springs motorist calls for resumption of vehicle safety inspections
Local news outlet THV11 aired concerns from a Hot Springs motorist. Ever since Arkansas stopped using state inspections 20 years ago, realtor Bobby Taylor has noticed a deterioration in the vehicle fleet sharing the road with her. In response, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Finance and Administration said that since Act 974 of 1997 (intended to streamline the vehicle registration process) lifted the vehicle inspection requirement, law enforcement has had the burden of enforcing vehicle safety. Still, as highway speed limits are set to increase from 70 to 75, some may feel it’s time legislators take another look at vehicle inspections. THV11 (Little Rock, AR)
Maryland: DOT launches pilot program to alert drivers of recall notices
Maryland has recently launched a pilot program to alert car owners about recalls involving their vehicle. Running VINs of all cars registered in the state through a recall database, recall notices can be flagged and car owners notified along with their vehicle registration reminders. The program is funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which found that nationwide, 1 in 3 cars on the road have recalls that remain unfixed. The state believes they are the first jurisdiction to provide information to consumers in this manner. WTOP.com (Maryland)
Oregon: New DEQ Too program offers telematics-based testing option to motorists
The new DEQ Too program allows owners with vehicles of model year 2005 or later to skip the visit to the emissions test station. Instead test data can be transmitted from their vehicles to the agency using a telematics device that plugs into the vehicle. A number of car-related businesses (gas stations, car washes, repair shops, etc.) are partnering with DEQ to provide the service, though businesses have the option of charging a fee. Portland Tribune
The Latest From Opus Inspection
Opus obtains equipment certification from the State of Pennsylvania
Opus Inspection is the first company to be certified by PennDOT to provide the next generation of OBD and Visual Emissions Equipment to Pennsylvania vehicle inspection stations.
Under its brand name ESP, Opus has been the market leader of vehicle emission test equipment for the Pennsylvania Drive Clean program for more than 20 years.
Opus closes acquisition of Gordon-Darby
On January 31, Opus Inspection Inc. (Opus), a 100% subsidiary of Opus Group AB (publ), completed the acquisition of U.S.-based Gordon-Darby, Inc. Gordon-Darby will continue operations under its brand name and current management team and staff. Existing products and services offered will continue to be supported and developed by Gordon-Darby. The Gordon-Darby acquisition increases Opus’ footprint in the U.S., while offering management and technology synergies to benefit customers worldwide.
Opus has won a public tender and signed an 8-year vehicle inspection concession in Valparaíso, Chile.
Opus’ Vehicle Inspection division has signed a new contract with El Ministerio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones in Chile, to design, build and operate one of its vehicle safety inspection programs in the region of Valparaíso, using the most advanced technologies and efficient management practices.
Opus forms new division to address increased vehicle complexity
Opus has formed a new division to focus its offerings within service, repair and support of modern vehicles. The new division, Intelligent Vehicle Support, addresses the technical support challenges that come with ever-increasing vehicle complexity. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, telematics, and connected cars, vehicle technicians require additional support to stay current with the pace of change in vehicle technology. They also need to reduce time and cost associated with accessing the exponentially growing, model-specific vehicle systems data.
Through its new Intelligent Vehicle Support division, Opus assists repair shops in keeping up with rapid advances in vehicle technology, providing the support they need to perform highly specialized diagnosis and electronic reprogramming services across multiple vehicle brands. The support services are initially offered in North America, Europe and Australia.
The Beaten Track
Massachusetts: Improvised sticker evokes skepticism from Auburn PD
So the motorist’s story goes like this: When he replaced the windshield, he lost the inspection sticker in the process, so he had to improvise a replacement. Auburn patrol officer Jason Miglionico wasn’t buying the explanation. “There’s no way this vehicle’s been inspected,” officer Miglionico told his sergeant. Perhaps the pathetic “improvisation” moved the officer go easy on the motorist, who was only cited for driving without a valid inspection sticker. Boston Herald.