EPA found more than half a million diesel trucks using defeat devices
Like adding nine million extra trucks to roads
Those black smoke billowing diesel pickups you see on the road? They’re probably not stock and they are emitting massive amounts of pollution, enough to eclipse the entire Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, says a new report.
The New York Times reports on the practice of removing diesel vehicle emissions controls systems and a US EPA federal report that says the more than half a million HD pickups from GM, Ford, and Ram with illegal emissions devices have added the equivalent emissions of an extra nine million trucks on the road.
The electronic devices, often available for just a few hundred dollars online, are usually made by small companies and installed by truck owners. They tout increased power and torque, as well as allowing owners to remove emissions control devices. Most noticeably, they let drivers “roll coal,” which is a fuel-wasting process of emitting massive amounts of smoke. Often used to harass pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers of EVs.
With most states not requiring an emissions check (and the devices tricking those states that do), it’s tough to measure the scale of the issue. The EPA Office of Civil Enforcement’s report estimates more than 500,000 vehicles in the US are equipped with aftermarket tuner modules and emissions defeat devices, but they believe that it affects many more in the real world.
“This is far more alarming and widespread than the Volkswagen scandal,” Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, the research group that first alerted the E.P.A. of the illegal Volkswagen technology, told the Times. “Because these are trucks, the amount of pollution is far, far higher,” he said.
While the EPA focused on heavy-duty pickups, saying about 15 percent of those vehicles have defeat devices have been installed, but the report says that they have “almost certainly have been installed in millions of other vehicles.”
The result is “significant amounts of excess air pollution caused by tampering.” More than 570,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide over the life of the vehicles, more than 10 times what was attributed to US-sold VW emissions defeat models. The report also found more than 5,000 excess tons of soot will be emitted, linked to respiratory diseases.