Editor, The News:
Re: Why I am paying so much for AirCare? (The News, Nov. 20, 2013)
I’d like take this opportunity to address John Turner’s letter of November 20, 2013 concerning the AirCare test fee.
AirCare is required by the Motor Vehicle Act to set its test fees at a level no greater than what is required to fully recover the costs of delivering the program. The program must therefore be revenue-neutral, incurring neither a loss, nor a profit. Fees collected cannot be used for any other purpose than operating the program, making it a true, user-pay system.
Many motorists mistakenly believe they are paying for coverage similar to Autoplan insurance when they have their AirCare test. However, the AirCare test fee is designed to pay only for the test itself and not the time between that test and the date when another inspection will be required.
The AirCare expiry date for 1992-and-newer model year vehicles was intended to allow motorists to purchase two, 12-month license and insurance policies from ICBC. All 1992-and-newer vehicles having an inspection in 2013 still receive this value as they could not otherwise renew in 2014 without having had an inspection.
The $23 test fee applies to a different and simpler test that must be performed annually on 1991-an- older model year vehicles. The roughly two-to-one ratio of the fee for 1992-and-newer vehicles compared to the fee for 1991-and-older vehicles was intentionally chosen to provide approximately the same annual cost to vehicle owners.
Despite perceptions to the contrary, AirCare customers are simply paying a fee for an inspection which assesses a vehicle’s emissions performance at that point in time. As the value for the fee is fully provided with the inspection, there is no unused value to be rebated as a result of the program concluding in December, 2014.
Dave Gourley, P.Eng.
General Manager, AirCare