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Published: 2002-03-01 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is offering a two-minute free vehicle emission test for petrol, diesel and gas vehicles as part of the Festival of the Environment later this month.

The free testing will be conducted at Hamilton’s Pak ‘N’ Save car park in Clarence St on March 9,10, 16 and 17 from 10am to 4pm.

There will also be information on how to improve fuel economy, reduce engine wear and extend vehicle life while cleaning up the air.

People getting a warrant of fitness at the Hamilton WOF station in Brooklyn Rd during March 11-15 can also get a free emission test.

Golden Rocket Man – a three metre tall superhero - will be roaming Hamilton's central shopping area this and next Saturday to publicise the tests.

Environment Waikato event co-ordinator Kim MacRae-Jonson said the quick test is an easy way for motorists to check whether their vehicle is meeting recommended emission standards.

“We will also provide them with useful tips for reducing their vehicle emissions the rewards of which are improved fuel economy, reduced engine wear and extended vehicle life. Driving a vehicle which emits fewer emissions also helps keep the air we all breathe clean.”

Environment Waikato tested 7000 Hamilton vehicles in late 1998 and found that older cars and some diesel vehicles were the major polluters, with 45 percent of pre-1982 cars failing the carbon monoxide test.

Even modern cars failed, exposing motorists, pedestrians and people working in urban areas to high carbon monoxide levels.

More than half of Waikato diesel vehicles tested failed the test – and the amount of smoke they put out was cause for concern. New Zealand heavy trucks perform “somewhat better than Bangkok buses”, but cars perform worse in terms of smoke emissions.