The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been at war with diesel emission defeat devices, and another tuning shop has been fined as part of the ordeal. According to The Drive, the receiving end of the punishment is California-based Sinister Diesel, which will have to pay $1 million in both criminal fines and civil penalties.
Sinister Diesel Emission Defeat Fine: Details
The U.S. Justice Department recently revealed that Sinister Manufacturing – the parent company of Sinister Diesel – pleaded guilty in Federal court to two separate counts related to wilful violations of the Clean Air Act. Sinister Diesel is one of many diesel-oriented performance companies in the United States. Like many of these shops, Sinister sold devices, tuners, and software that allowed owners to convert otherwise emission-compliant trucks into coal-rolling machines that give auto enthusiasts a bad name.
Earlier this week, the company entered into a plea agreement as part of a joint investigation by the EPA and FBI. The company was charged with conspiracy to violate (CAA) and defraud the United States, as well as a second VAA violation for “tampering with the monitoring device” of emission control systems for diesel trucks. If you didn’t know, the Clean Air Act prohibits anyone from manufacturing or selling devices that bypass or defeat emission control devices. This isn’t anything new, as the EPA has gone after several companies that sell tuning machines that fit this bill. It has even levied penalties against TV hosts like Discovery’s Diesel brothers. So, the fact that another company has gotten nailed for this crime either shows that people aren’t paying attention or don’t care.
While Sinister noted that its products were intended for “racing” and off-road use only, prosecutors stated the company knew most of its products were being sold with the intention of being used on the road. Between October 2015 and July 2017, Sinister’s sales data indicates that it sold nearly 36,000 defeat devices that turned off a vehicle’s EGY system. That means up to 25% of the company’s revenue was from its defeated products alone at one point in time. Sinister agreed to pay $500,000 for the civil and criminal counts against it as part of the agreed-upon settlement – totaling $1 million. Hopefully, this serves as yet another warning to companies that have the potential to meet the same fate as the EPA continues to crack down on violators of the Clean Air Act.