Since 2020, the EPA has had a National Compliance Initiative related to emissions from modified vehicles, which has allowed the agency to have greater leeway with its enforcement actions. But, according to Road and Track, as shops and tuning companies face hefty fines for selling and distributing these components, eBay Motors has quietly moved to ban them from their site, pushing the creation, sale and distribution of these devices further underground.
eBay Tuning Part Ban: Details
According to eBay’s defeat device policy, any part that may bypass, delete, or render a factory emissions system inoperative is banned from being listed on the site. That ban applies to all parts, whether they are hardware or software solutions. The company also lists several of the banned products, including tuners, standalone ECUs, off-road exhaust systems, AFM disablers, throttle response controllers, oxygen sensor bypass devices, etc. It appears that this change was implemented sometime in 2022, though it’s unclear exactly when.
The EPA is likely to pursue eBay for its role in distributing the hardware it deems illegal under the Clean Air Act, which would prove very costly for eBay. Every unlawful part sold can carry financial penalties of $4,819 as of January 13, 2020. However, an EPA Enforcement Alert notice states that companies that voluntarily choose to remove these products from their business plan may be eligible for any potential fines erased. Any banned product sales on eBay leading up to the silent ban of 2022.
The reasoning behind eBay’s decision is extremely clear, as the company was poised to face massive financial penalties if it chose to continue offering aftermarket exhaust components for sale. The EPA is a powerful entity, and companies of all sizes fear the agency’s legal power, particularly if the company violates the Clean Air Act. Even Cobb Tuning eliminated customer access to engine tables through its Accesstuner software, which prevents customers from willfully increasing emissions. Cobb Tuning was never hit with a lawsuit from the EPA despite selling huge numbers of tuners in the past. Meanwhile, smaller companies that couldn’t cut a deal with the EPA did not benefit from the same experience.