Devices designed to illegally defeat federal emissions controls on diesel vehicles are spreading across the U.S., according to a new investigation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on the manufacturers of “delete devices,” hardware or software to bypass or eliminate federal controls on diesel vehicles that improve performance but allow the release of massive amounts of nitrogen oxide and other air pollutants.
The EPA has brought cases against at least 60 companies that manufacture the devices since 2017.
Even so, the EPA estimates that, since 2009, more than 500,000 diesel pickup trucks have “deleted” emissions controls using the aftermarket kits, adding the equivalent of 9 million more trucks’ worth of air pollution into the air.
The EPA increased enforcement of aftermarket defeat devices after German automaker Volkswagen AG was caught installing the devices in many of its new diesel-engine passenger vehicles, emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides.
The devices could detect when the cars were being tested for emissions and brought back emissions levels to regulatory standards during the testing.
Volkswagen was ordered to pay $14.7 billion to settle the Clean Air Act violations across the U.S. The state of Indiana received $40.9 million as part of the settlement. The state is using the money to fund nitrogen oxide pollution offset projects.
The aftermarket industry has pushed back against the diesel emissions control rules, backing a bill by industry-funded lawmakers by allowing motorists to convert the vehicles into “race cars,” which would be exempt from the diesel controls.
You can read more about the devices at Fair Warning.