Diesel pickup truck drivers know how to cheat — a lot

Michael James

Diesel truck drivers know how to cheat emissions standards tests.

Cheating on diesel trucks emissions standards is widespread throughout the United States.

The results of a recent study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Enforcement Division detail the removal of emission controls from more than 550,000 diesel pickup trucks around the country in the past decade.


Diesel truck drivers know how to cheat emissions standards tests.
Diesel truck drivers know how to cheat emissions standards tests.

States without regular vehicle inspections have the highest percentage of diesel trucks with 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 cheat list.

California, which has strict enforcement of emissions standards, has a 1.8 percent of non-compliant diesel trucks. It’s the country’s lowest cheat rate.

Pickup truck drivers cheat for several reasons

Owners who alter or remove the systems do so for better gas mileage and more power in their trucks.

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 to 14,400 pounds.

According to the EPA, the tally equals about 15 percent of the national population of diesel truck originally certified wait 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 cheat. It tampers with diesel trucks’ emissions controls.

Many owners also fit straight-through exhaust systems, therefore removing the standard exhausts that feature after-treatment systems.


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Article Last Updated: December 14, 2020.

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