‘Dirty’ diesels: EPA warns of widespread illegal truck tampering
FORT MYERS, Fla. (WBBH) — If you don’t see them coming, you might hear them — those large, loud diesel pickup trucks that spew thick, black exhaust into the air.
People in North Fort Myers had a mix of opinions when asked about the ‘dirty’ diesels.
“I’ve been behind them and I don’t like them at all. They smell really bad,” Harriet Gault said.
“It concerns me,” Leon Smith said. “Exhaust anywhere concerns me.”
“I think they’re just young guys, they’ve got a lot of money invested and they’re just having fun,” Tony Swire said.
But that fun can actually be unlawful and also awful for air quality.
In a 2020 report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, over the past decade, emissions controls have been illegally removed from more than half a million diesel pickups. That includes nearly 25,000 trucks in Florida alone, which is more than every state but Texas.
Regarding air pollution, EPA officials said the excess emissions are the equivalent of adding more than 9 million more diesel pickup trucks to the roads.
Epa a Ed Letter Report on Tampered Diesel Pickups by Olivia Hyde on Scribd
“If they get rid of the emissions, it does make the truck ‘dirty’,’’ Jason LaBonte of Legendary Automotive and Truck Service in Fort Myers said.
LaBonte said some truck owners delete emissions controls to save money on work vehicles, while others do it just to show off.
Either way, his shop simply won’t do it. He said the fines could be substantial.
“I mean, we could lose everything. Really,” LaBonte explained.
LaBonte said truck owners can buy devices online and delete emissions controls themselves, though he warns against it. He said that can make it harder to trade-in a truck, and added that the EPA is cracking down on the illegal activity.
“If you’re buying delete parts, you’re deleting your truck, and you’re posting on your favorite social media platform. Don’t be surprised if the EPA sends you a letter or approaches you with some kind of a fine. Because it has happened,” LaBonte said.
Harriet Gault had another reason to deter truck owners.
“We only have one earth to live on,” Gault said. “So let’s take care of it.”
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