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ECARS Program Seeks to Combat Poor Air Quality

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Military members and DoD civilian drivers who bring their cars here for more than 60 days per year will have to meet Maryland emissions standards under a new mandatory federal program called eCARS.

The Employee-vehicle Certification and Reporting System (eCARS) ensures Air Force installations comply with section 118(d) of the Clean Air Act, which requires military and non-contractor civilian federal employees who work in "non-attainment" areas, or places the Environmental Protection Agency deems to have poor air quality to minimize their contribution to pollution.

"Commanders are required to ensure all their personnel comply with the eCARS program regardless of where their vehicles are registered," said Carla Jo Rupert, Andrews' Air Quality and Natural and Cultural Resources program manager. "Each Team Andrews member will soon receive an email which will guide them through the certification process."

Rupert said the process is relatively painless, and shouldn't take more than five minutes to complete.

"Members will enter their vehicle information onto Air Force Form 4434, and if their vehicle has already passed an emissions inspection that either meets or exceeds the Prince George's County standards, or qualifies as 'exempt from inspection,' they can digitally sign their form, print it out and they're done," she said. "If their cars need to be inspected, they will have 30 days to take their printed form 4434 to a Maryland Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program location and have their car tested."

Cars that pass the test will be certified, and drivers will update their form 4434 to show they are in compliance. Cars that don't pass the test will need to be repaired and re-tested. Emission testing results are valid for two years.

The nearest VEIP location is right out the Virginia gate, at 7213 Old Alexandria Ferry Road in Clinton. Hours of operation are Monday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The test costs $14. 

More information on VEIP can be found at http://www.mva.maryland.gov/Vehicle-Services/VEIP/

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