“This is an astronomically high level of smog-generating pollution,” he added. “It happens at ground level, where people breathe the fumes. And if the problem spreads to other vehicles, it is almost unimaginable what the impact on health will be. “
The EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement, which is largely made up of career officials, has been investigating diesel tuners for about five years since it discovered the Volkswagen fraud. An EPA official familiar with the report, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak officially, said it was a milestone in the ongoing investigation.
The report was completed last week, though the EPA hasn’t made it public or issued a press release, which stands. unlike the media blitz organized by the agency of the Obama era for the Volkswagen investigation. In this case, word got out after Evan Belser, the deputy director of the office’s Law Enforcement Division, emailed a copy of the report to the heads of three national pollution control organizations. atmospheric.
EPA spokesperson James Hewitt first said on Wednesday he was unaware of the report. In an emailed statement after being notified, Hewitt said, “As part of our national compliance initiative, the EPA resolved in fiscal 2020 more cases of civil tampering and Aftermarket breakdowns (31) that prevented more motor vehicle emissions (14.6 million pounds) than in any previous year in the agency’s history. Additionally, the EPA assessed more civil penalties, criminal fines, and restitution under this administration than the first four years of the Obama administration.
The report only looked at diesel pickup trucks weighing between 8,500 pounds and 14,000 pounds, but EPA analysts believe the cheating has spread to US garages and highways.
“One of the reasons why it is difficult to estimate the extent of tampering nationally is that the Law Enforcement Division has reason to believe that this conduct occurs in most or all categories of vehicles and engines, including commercial trucks, passenger vehicles, light trucks, motorcycles, forestry equipment and farm equipment, ”the report concludes.
“The problem with aftermarket defeat devices is huge,” said Phillip Brooks, a former EPA emissions investigator who worked on the diesel tuner investigation and the Volkswagen case. “A lot of people just don’t understand what the problem is – your average person buys a vehicle and says, it’s my vehicle, I can do what I want with it. They may not even know that these devices are illegal. “