If you have had a 'fail' result for vehicle emissions at one of the nine centralized stations in southeastern Wisconsin in prior years, you were part of the average six to seven percent of vehicles which failed their test, according to state data.
However, as the program was transitioned at the end of June to private garages and dealerships, failure rates have tripled in some areas, according to a study done by JS Online that analyzed 18,600 tests conducted through July 18 throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
While seven of Greenfield's testing locations recorded fail percentages of 9 percent or less, , had an 18 percent fail rate and eight of the new testing locations in the JS study area had a fail rate of 20 percent or more.
State officials say there is no cause for concern because technicians can't tamper with test results. In addition, technicians say facilities in some geographic locations are bound to have higher fail rates because they receive a greater proportion of cars in poor condition.
Meanwhile, the article stated that "some drivers are complaining that the new test facilities are trying to sell them overpriced repairs they don't need. They say unlike the old facilities - which only conducted emissions tests and did not offer other services - the newly designated facilities have an incentive to sell drivers other services to make up for the mere $2 they make from the state for conducting each test."
Brett Matschke, owner of in Greenfield said service centers and their employees are restricted from outright selling of their own services at the time of testing.
"We are required to hand the customer a list of places they can choose to take their vehicle to have the problem looked at," Matschke said. "We are on that list, and they may choose to use us, but we can't necessarily sell the service to them."
In addition, staff at the centers that can test your emissions have to undergo a four-hour class from the state, and are visited regularly to make sure their equipment is working.
"We see a guy about two to three times a week here, just checking on the equipment," Matschke said.
He also stated that there is little investment by the dealers, as the state covers the cost of the equipment and software.
"We pay a small deposit on the equipment, just to ensure that we're treating it correctly," he said.
For a list of area dealerships and garages offering emissions testing, click here.