EghtesadOnline: Almost half of the cars rolled out by local automotive companies over the past four years do not meet emission standards and cannot receive technical inspection certificates, the CEO of Tehran Vehicle Technical Inspection Bureau says.
Navab Hosseini added that in the last Iranian year (ended March 2019), 1.8 million vehicles visited the capital's technical inspection centers, of which 1.28 million were under four years old and going through their first technical check.
"Of the 1.28 million new vehicles, 42% failed the regular technical inspection tests and 60% could not meet standards to acquire the premium technical inspection certificate," he said.
The premium certificate has higher standards than that of the normal technical inspection certificates. While in the normal tests, vehicles’ emissions are monitored in a low-speed performance but for receiving the premium certificate, the carbon monoxide emission of cars is assessed at 2,500 rpm, according to Financial Tribune.
Hosseini added that on average, 45-50% of the rejected vehicles do not receive the certificate due to the high emission rates and 20-25% are refused since they do not meet safety standards.
Vehicles that hardly meet local emission and safety standards spew poison into the air, threatening people’s lives and damaging the environment.
Damages and Measures
Tehran Municipality’s Transportation and Traffic Organization has estimated that air pollution in the capital costs $2.6 billion of the country's GDP annually.
To curb the growing problem, TM has devised several schemes to regulate commutation of vehicles in the city.
In November 2018, the technical inspection certificate became mandatory for all two- and four-wheelers plying the streets of the capital.
The Air Pollution Reduction scheme bars smog-inducing clunkers from entering the already clogged roads of the metropolis and those find in breach are fined.
Another more recently launched scheme is dubbed Air Pollution Control. As per APC, each vehicle can enter a "restricted zone" in central Tehran for free for a maximum 20 days each season (three months), or 80 days a year.
Spread over 88.5 square kilometers in central Tehran, the zone is bounded by Imam Ali Expressway in the east, Navvab Expressway and Chamran Highway to the west, Besat Expressway in the south and Hemmat Expressway in the north.
APC says if motorists wish to enter the zone more than the number of times mentioned in the plan, they need to pay a toll fee.
Besides the two, the "Traffic Scheme” is enforced in an area limited by Motahari Street (north), Shariati Street (east), Kargar (west) and Shoosh (south). Cars, except for public transportation vehicles, are barred from entering the area between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Private vehicles need to pay 414,000 rials ($3.3) to enter the zone.
These schemes have been implemented in the hope of tackling Tehran’s poor air quality. However, they cannot address the issue until a significant change is made in the quality of locally-produced vehicles.
Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Company has released data on the quality of locally-made and assembled cars in the third month of the current fiscal year (May 22-June 21).
According to the company, 48,411 cars, buses and heavy duty vehicles were produced during the month.
The vehicles are ranked from one to a maximum of five stars based on their quality.
The cars were used to be classified in five price ranges from the lowest, costing under 250 million rials ($2,000) to the highest at above 1 billion rials ($8,000). However, due to the currency market volatility and price fluctuations in the auto market, the same ranges are used for classification, but without prices.
From the 39 passenger vehicle models inspected by ISQI, only two models managed to keep their previous five-star ranking. The models were the Peugeot 2008 made by Iran Khodro (IKCO) and SAIPA-made Citroen C3. The two models are both classified in the second price level.
Four- and three-star categories, however, were the largest groups, for respectively 13 and 11 models fell in these groups.
According to ISQI charts, IKCO and SAIPA filled up the losers' group with 12 low quality vehicles by getting only two stars.
The chart shows models produced for extended periods are still at the bottom end of the quality list.
Especially two low-priced and low-quality models produced by SAIPA and IKCO, namely Pride and Peugeot 405, were pushed into the limelight after the Iranian New Year (started March 21), as the two claimed the highest rate of road accidents during the two-week holiday season.
SAIPA 131, SAIPA 132, SAIPA 111 and Tiba 2 produced by SAIPA, along with IKCO's models Peugeot 405, Samand and Peugeot Pars were ranked poorly.
Several years ago, the government announced stringent regulations to improve the quality of domestic cars and remove high emission vehicles from the streets. However, it has failed to implement the rules, leading to repeated complaints and protests by the people, environment activists, economic experts and NGOs.
Most cars produced by the two major state-owned companies, IKCO and SAIPA, have engines that are no longer in use in most countries with strict environmental rules. They are notorious for high emissions and poor mileage.
Interestingly, however, according to ISQI, none of the inspected models got one star.
The contradiction between the reports and the actual quality of the vehicles shows that the accuracy and conformity of ISQI's quality ranking with global standards are questionable.