The Rocky Mount Telegram reports on the coming extension of emissions testing to a bunch of new North Carolina counties, including Nash and Edgecome in their neck of the woods:

Cars in Nash and Edgecombe counties must pass an emissions test as well as a safety inspection to earn a sticker beginning Jan. 1. The change will push inspection costs up from about $9 to $30, said a local inspection station manager.

“We’ve had to buy over $10,000 in equipment to do the testing,” said Tony Edwards, manager of Inspect Express and the Citgo Express Lube in Rocky Mount. “I doubt anyone will charge less.”

The emissions requirement applies to car models from 1996 or later, said Gordon Zigler, head of the emissions testing program at the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

“The volume of those cars on the road is substantially greater than the older cars,” he said.

It is absurd to extend this testing outside the high concentrations of cars in large cities. It is absurd to force all drivers of post-1996 cars to get their emissions tested, as most of the violators are concentrated among a relatively small group of drivers of older and/or poorly maintained vehicles. It is absurd to force up the annual cost of owning a car by $20 or more when it will have virtually no beneficial effect on air quality (its beneficiaries are essentially the garages doing the testing).

What?s the word I?m looking for to describe this policy? Oh, yes: absurd.