MAINE: Truck Dealer Caught Installing Illegal ‘Defeat Devices’

WINDHAM, Maine, November 15, 2021 (ENS) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with APlus Truck Sales, Inc. of Windham, resolving EPA allegations that from 2017 to 2019, the company tampered with emission controls on diesel vehicles by selling and installing aftermarket parts known as “defeat devices,” in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, APlus Truck Sales will pay a penalty of $75,000. The penalty amount considers the effect of the penalty on the company’s ability to continue in business as well as the financial impacts of COVID-19, based on detailed financial data provided to EPA.

In its complaint against APlus, EPA identified over 60 instances over a two-year period in which the company illegally tampered with vehicles. APlus has now certified to EPA that it has ceased the sale and installation of such defeat devices.

Tampering with a vehicle’s emissions control system is illegal under the Clean Air Act and results in excess emissions of a variety of pollutants including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The CAA prohibits manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, and installing aftermarket devices that disable, bypass, or reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems.

The EPA warns that health effects of exposure to diesel automotive emissions can include premature death in people with heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

“EPA is committed to protecting peoples’ health by protecting air quality in our communities. Emission control systems on vehicles reduce pollution, meaning we all have cleaner and healthier air to breath. It’s important that pollution control systems are not altered so they continue to work as intended,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro.

“This action sends a clear message that tampering with emission controls on vehicles will not be tolerated. To ensure that we all have access to clean air, it is critical that vehicle repair facilities and truck owners comply with the Clean Air Act,” she said.

As a result of EPA requirements, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles. To meet EPA’s emission standards, engine manufacturers have carefully calibrated their engines and installed sophisticated emissions control systems. EPA testing has shown that aftermarket defeat devices can increase vehicle emissions.

Because vehicles that have been tampered with contribute excess polluting emissions to communities located adjacent to highways and freight facilities, EPA New England regards tampering as a key issue in working toward environmental justice.

This enforcement action is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative for Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.

For more information about tampering and aftermarket defeat devices you can visit the Northeast Diesel Collaborative’s website at

Featured image: Diesel truck for sale at APlus Truck Sales. This one has no illegal defeat device installed. (Photo courtesy APlus Truck Sales)

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