Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, once said: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”
That sentiment can be perfectly applied to Ontario’s controversial Drive Clean program. Introduced in 1999, Drive Clean was to be a temporary program aimed to get the worst-polluting vehicles off the road.
But here we are, nearly 20 years later and Drive Clean is still forcing everyone with a car that’s more than a few years old to drive to an emissions-testing facility in order to renew their licence plates. (And usually right around their birthday, just to make it even more of a drag.)
That is, until Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a smart, evidence-based decision to cancel Drive Clean for light-duty vehicles last week.
From 1999 to 2010, the percentage of vehicles that failed emissions testing in Ontario had dropped from 16 per cent to five per cent.
And that’s where we are today. Virtually every light-duty vehicle on the road — 95 per cent — passes the emissions test. Mission accomplished, I’d say.