National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative: Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines
EPA has found numerous companies and individuals that have manufactured and sold both hardware and software specifically designed to defeat required emissions controls on vehicles and engines used on public roads as well as on nonroad vehicles and engines. Illegally modified vehicles and engines contribute substantial excess pollution that harms public health and impedes efforts by the EPA, tribes, states, and local agencies to plan for and attain air quality standards.
By making aftermarket defeat devices a National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative (NECI), EPA addressed a significant contributor to air pollution. According to a study by EPA’s Air Enforcement Division, known sales of defeat devices for certain diesel trucks after 2009 and before 2020 resulted in more than 570,000 tons of excess nitrogen oxides (NOx ) and 5,000 tons of excess particulate matter (PM) over the lifetime of the trucks.
EPA, through its direct implementation authority, plays a critical role in addressing these important pollutant sources. Title II of the Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes the Agency to set standards applicable to emissions from a variety of vehicles and engines. Required emission controls often include filters and catalysts installed in the vehicle’s engine exhaust system, as well as calibrations that manage fueling strategy and other operations in the engine itself. The CAA prohibits tampering with emissions controls, as well as manufacturing, selling, and installing aftermarket devices intended to defeat those controls.
From FY 2020 through FY 2023, this NECI focused on stopping the manufacture, sale, and installation of defeat devices on vehicles and engines used on public roads as well as on nonroad vehicles and engines.
EPA Estimated Emissions Increase Due to Full Delete
The Agency made significant progress to decrease air pollution from aftermarket defeat devices through this NECI. EPA finalized 172 civil enforcement cases from FY 2020 through FY 2023 resulting in civil penalties totaling $55.5 million. During the same period, EPA completed 17 criminal cases resulting in penalties totaling $5.6 million, $1.2 million in restitution, $438,000 in environmental projects, and 54 months of incarceration.
The following are illustrative of the Agency’s efforts in FY 2023 to stop the manufacture or sale of devices intended to defeat required emissions controls on vehicles and engines used on public roads:
FY 2023 civil/criminal enforcement cases
- During FY 2023, EPA resolved 38 civil enforcement cases.
- EPA has addressed serious violations through enforcement actions achieving measurable pollutant reductions and improving air quality. Examples of concluded cases in FY 2023 against entities that manufactured and/or sold aftermarket hardware or software designed to defeat pollution controls include the following:
- Flo~Pro Performance Exhaust and Thunder Diesel & Performance Company to Halt Sales of Illegal Vehicle Emission Control Defeat Devices and Pay a $1.6 Million Penalty
- Fleece Performance to Pay $190,548 Penalty
- Kooks Custom Headers, Inc. to Pay $300,000 Penalty
- EPA Cracks Down on Companies in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington State for Selling Illegal Auto Parts that Avoid Pollution Controls
- Under Settlement with EPA, East Peoria Businesses Must Halt Sales of Devices that Alter Vehicle Emissions
- Affordable Towing
- California Truck Parts Manufacturer Sinister Diesel Agrees to Pay $1 Million After Pleading Guilty to Conspiracy and for Manufacturing and Selling Illegal Defeat Devices
Filed multiple judicial complaints in FY 2023
- In FY23, EPA also filed judicial complaints against entities that manufactured and/or sold aftermarket hardware or software designed to defeat pollution controls:
Forged successful partnerships
- From FY 2020 through FY 2023, EPA has provided tampering and aftermarket defeat device inspector trainings attended by 26 states and the District of Columbia.
- EPA also supported states performing inspections and taking enforcement actions for violations of state laws concerning tampering. States’ efforts to curtail the demand for aftermarket defeat devices complement the EPA’s efforts, which are generally focused on the manufacturing and supply of aftermarket defeat devices.
Provided compliance assistance
- From FY 2020 through FY 2023, EPA has given more than 30 presentations to stakeholder groups, including states and trade associations, on tampering and aftermarket defeat devices. Compliance assistance materials include the following: