Trucks & SUVs

EPA Is Coming For Diesel Pickup Owners Defeating Emissions Devices

It seemed so innocent at first. Diesel pickup truck owners were defeating their emissions devices to roll a little coal. No harm, no foul. Or so we thought. Now it seems that the EPA has found that the practice is prevalent and harming the environment. So now the EPA is coming after diesel pickup truck owners that roll coal.

Over 500,000 diesel pickup truck owners in the US have disabled emission control devices

Close up of an old petrol pump | Getty

The EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement has concluded that over 500,000 diesel pickup truck owners in the US have been disabling the emission control devices within the last 10 years. The amount of excess emissions is factored to be like adding over nine million extra diesel trucks. Because this is being done by owners it is hard to say exactly how many are doing this, and how much it is actually adding to pollution. 

What’s worse is that the EPA’s study only included full-size pickups like Silverados and Ram 2500. Since midsize diesel owners are defeating their emissions devices for the same reason the numbers could be far higher. “One reason it is difficult to estimate the full extent of tampering nationwide is that the Air Enforcement Division has reason to believe this conduct occurs within most or all categories of vehicles and engines, including commercial trucks, passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, motorcycles, forestry equipment, and agricultural equipment,” the report says. 

Modifications could result in 570,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide added to the air

Dirty diesel | Getty

These modifications could result in over 570,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide added to the air. Nitrogen oxide has been connected to diseases like both heart and lung disease. Beyond that, it is estimated these trucks will add 5,000 excess tons of particulate matter. This increases respiratory diseases and also is attributed to higher death counts from COVID-19.

“The aftermarket defeat device problem is huge,” said former EPA emissions inspector to Teslarati. “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 be aware that these devices are illegal. But the real question is the impact. If 10 people do it, there’s no impact. But these are numbers that are meaningful for air quality. This is not a great way to express how to be a free American, but there are a lot of people out there who think that way.” Yikes!

“Diesel tuners” defeat emissions devices to improve performance

a diesel fuel cap
Dirty diesel | Getty

RELATED: Rolling Coal Just Makes People Hate Pickup Trucks

Those “diesel tuners” out there defeating emissions devices to improve performance are going to have to stop it. That or the EPA can shut them down and serve fines to a whole host of shops and diesel pickup owners. Shops will have to find ways to improve performance without tampering with emission controls. 

It will be interesting to see how the Tesla Cybertruck is accepted by the diesel pickup aficionado. Should it catch on it would substantially improve emissions, and especially the general public’s image of diesel pickups blowing smoke.