Estimating Full IM240 Emissions from Partial Test Results: Evidence from Arizona

Amy W. Ando, Winston Harrington, Virginia McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The expense and inconvenience of enhanced-vehicle-emissions testing using the full 240-second dynamometer test has led states to search for ways to shorten the test process. In fact, all states that currently use the IM240 allow some type of fast-pass, usually as early in the test as second 31, and Arizona has allowed vehicles to fast-fail after second 93. While these shorter tests save states millions of dollars in inspection lanes and driver costs, there is a loss of information since test results are no longer comparable across vehicles. This paper presents a methodology for estimating full 240-second results from partial-test results for three pollutants: HC, CO, and NOx. If states can convert all tests to consistent IM240 readings, they will be able to better characterize fleet emissions and to evaluate the impact of inspection and maintenance and other programs on emissions over time. Using a random sample of vehicles in Arizona which received full 240-second tests, we use regression analysis to estimate the relationship between emissions at second 240 and emissions at earlier seconds in the test. We examine the influence of other variables such as age, model-year group, and the pollution level itself on this relationship. We also use the estimated coefficients in several applications. First, we try to shed light on the frequent assertion that the results of the dynamometer test provide guidance for vehicle repair of failing vehicles. Using a probit analysis, we find that the probability that a failing vehicle will pass the test on the first retest is greater the longer the test has progressed. Second, we test the accuracy of our estimates for forecasting fleet emissions from partial-test emissions results in Arizona. We find forecasted fleet average emissions to be very close to the actual fleet averages for light-duty vehicles, but not quite as good for trucks, particularly when NOx emissions are forecast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1167
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution

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