By James Raia
The results of a recent study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Enforcement Division detail the widespread removal of emission controls from more than 550,000 diesel pickup trucks in the United States in the past decade.
Owners who alter or remove the systems do so for better gas mileage and more power in their trucks.
Diesel truck owners remove systems
Removal of these systems will produce more than 570,000 tons of excess oxides of nitrogen and 5,000 tons of excess particulate matter over the lifetime of the vehicles.
The report relates only specifically to class 2b and class 3 diesel pickups – those weighing between 8,501 and 14,400 pounds.
According to the EPA, the tally equals about 15 percent of the national population of diesel trucks originally certified with emission control systems.
The excess nitrogen oxide produced by these trucks is the equivalent of adding more than 9 million additional diesel pickups on U.S. roads.
Simple adjustments that can alter the software’s functions and calibrations are the most common way to tamper with diesel trucks’ emissions controls.
Many owners also fit straight-through exhaust systems, therefore removing the standard exhausts that feature after-treatment systems.
States without regular vehicle inspections have the highest percentage of diesel trucks without defeat devices. North Dakota has 18.6 percentage of defeat devices. Idaho (15 percent), Wyoming (14.2), Maine (13.5) and Michigan (13) are also high on the list.
California, which has strict enforcement of emissions standards, has 1.8 percent of non-compliant diesel trucks. It’s the country’s lowest rate.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.