It’s time for the EPA to admit the system of allowing and trusting automakers to self-certify cars and light trucks for fuel economy and emissions standards no longer works.
The system, in place since the 1970s, works like this: Automakers test their own vehicles and submit the findings to the EPA, where engineers review and usually approve them. The EPA also randomly tests between 10 and 15 percent of new vehicles yearly for fuel economy and emissions at its Ann Arbor, Mich., lab.
But today, with 40 brands selling more than 300 nameplates in the U.S., there is no way the EPA can test them all. The agency doesn’t have the manpower, machinery, time or budget to certify every variant of every vehicle every year.