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PACECAR Program to Reduce Emissions

The PACECAR progam is offering free emissions testing on Oct. 6, Oct. 21, and Nov. 10. CW | Layton Dudley

Heather Buchanan

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Students and faculty at The University of Alabama will have the opportunity to evaluate the size of their carbon footprint this fall with free emissions testing through the PACECAR program.

The program is a new collaborative effort between the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy, or PACE, and the University’s Student Government Association. Lance Brown, executive director of PACE, said the nonprofit organization was searching for ways to get involved on college campuses.

“Our point of view is that there’s a lot of potential to get students involved in a positive way with their own vehicles and making sure that everyone is doing their part to drive a vehicle that complies with air emissions standards,” Brown said.

The program spans three more dates this fall—Oct. 6, Oct. 21 and Nov. 10. Participants need to sign up online for an appointment time at testfortuition.org and make their way to the University Garage at 1227 14th St. on the selected date.

“Right now, SGA is helping in the rollout of the PACECAR program,” said Catherine Faust, media relations director for SGA. “As you know, the first testing date is in the books and it seemed to be successful. Our reviews have been good so far, and we want to make sure students are aware of this opportunity and particularly the chance to win a semester scholarship.”

Each student who participates in the testing will be entered in a drawing to win a tuition scholarship for next semester. Brown said they hope this incentive will bring out more students for testing.

“There’s obviously people [who] want to do their part for the environment, but the tuition is a big deal,” Brown said. “At this point we’re really relying on SGA to really help get students into the testing. I was there for the last testing. We’re on the ground when testing happens and communicating to students about the results.”

All testing is done on site at the University Garage with results available in minutes, according to the PACECAR website. If a car fails the test, PACECAR is offering to pay 25 percent of the repair cost up to $250. This grant does not apply to vehicles older than 12 years, with more than 200,000 miles, vehicles still under the manufacturer or extended warranty or those in need of muffler repair. The repairs also must be completed within 60 days of testing at one of two locations—David’s Custom Exhaust at 2917 15th St. or Thompson Three Star Muffler at 2118 Lurleen B. Wallace Blvd.

Mary Wallace Pitts, a University of Alabama instructor for geology, said she would be willing to participate in the PACECAR testing and encourages others to participate as well.

“Car emissions are a leading contributor to air quality degradation, and so, everyone should be actively working to decrease total load in whatever way they can, whether or not it is regulated where they live,” Pitts said.

The issue of emissions regulations has been in the news recently due to the Volkswagen scandal. Many news outlets reported that several diesel Volkswagen models had been fitted with software intended to deceive emissions tests. This scandal is expected to cost Volkswagen as much as $87 billion. As an owner of a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, Brown said he was disappointed in the company but hopeful that the situation would be rectified.

“I certainly bought my Jetta with the expectation that not only was I going to realize significant cost savings from using diesel but that there were emissions benefits as well,” Brown said. “Hopefully they’ll get that resolved and do what’s right by customers and by our federal standards.”

For information and appointment scheduling, visit testfortuition.org.

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PACECAR Program to Reduce Emissions