The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated an investigation of seven diesel engine manufacturers that might have broken the terms of a federal settlement by selling their old products into the marketplace before an October 2002 deadline requiring them to offer cleaner engines or pay the penalties. The EPA Air Enforcement Division director has requested a list of internal information from the companies, such as correspondence with major buyers regarding orders, availability, reliability, and engine prices currently available compared to those that will be in the market after the October deadline. The October deadline resulted from a suit filed by the governments claiming that the companies were selling about 1.3 million engines that had been mounted with illegal “defeat devices.” These devices are emission systems meet EPA standards but become disabled during normal highway driving. Under the settlement, companies are required to spend $850 million collectively on cleaner engines and pay $83.4 million civil penalty. Also under the terms of the 1998 consent decree, all the companies except Navistar must “pull ahead” their manufacturing plans to comply with the 2004 emission standards by October 2002.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials