EPA Clean Air Act Settlements Address Illegal Tampering with Diesel Truck Emission Controls, Making Way for Cleaner Air in New England

Boston MA (11/10/2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached settlements with two New England companies engaged in the sales or installation of devices that tamper with emission controls on diesel vehicles.

The first settlement, with Diesel Fuel Systems, Inc. of Bangor, Maine, resolved EPA’s allegations that the company sold and installed aftermarket parts, known as “defeat devices,” from 2019 to 2021 in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Under the terms of the settlement, Diesel Fuel Systems agreed to pay a penalty of $100,000, certified to EPA that it will destroy all tampered equipment, and has ceased the sale and installation of such defeat devices.

EPA also entered into an Expedited Settlement Agreement with 21 Motorsports, an online retailer based in Clinton, Mass., resolving allegations it sold 11 aftermarket emissions tampering devices. The company agreed to pay a penalty of $5,697, under a pilot program for addressing smaller-scale vehicle tampering violations, and certified that it has ceased the sale of defeat devices.

“EPA is committed to ensuring that we all have access to clean air, and the actions of these two companies has undermined that goal, resulting in more air pollution in our communities. Emission control systems on vehicles reduce pollution, meaning we all get cleaner, healthier air to breathe,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “This action sends a clear message that tampering with emission controls on vehicles will not be tolerated. It is critical that vehicle repair facilities and truck owners comply with the Clean Air Act, especially in communities that have historically been overburdened by pollution.”

Tampering with a vehicle’s emissions control system is illegal under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and results in excess emissions of a variety of pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The CAA prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that disable, bypass, or reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems.

As a result of EPA’s regulations, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles. To meet EPA’s emission standards, engine manufacturers have carefully calibrated their engines and installed sophisticated emissions control systems. EPA testing has shown that aftermarket defeat devices can increase vehicle emissions substantially, which can contribute to a variety of public health problems typically associated with exposure to air pollution. These health effects can include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, an irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

Because vehicles that have been tampered with contribute excess dirty emissions to communities located adjacent to highways and freight facilities, EPA New England regards tampering as a key issue in advancing environmental justice.

More information

These enforcement actions are part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative for Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.

For additional information about tampering and aftermarket defeat devices you can visit the Clean Air Northeast’s website.

Contact Information: Mikayla Rumph (rumph.mikayla@epa.gov) (617) 918-1016