The smoke-belching pickup trucks you have seen on Delaware roads may be part of an effort by owners to alter emissions equipment.
The New York Times reported the problems that was outlined in a study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA report estimated that more 900 Delaware pickup trucks have tampered emission control systems. It amounts to more than 8 percent of the state’s total of such vehicles.
“Unfortunately,the EPA has found numerous companies and individuals that have manufactured, sold, and installed both hardware and software specifically designed to defeat required emissions controls on motor vehicles,” the report stated.
Ranking first was North Dakota, where an estimated 18.6 percent of diesel-powered pickups have being altered.
Delaware ranked in the bottom tier of states when it came to the percentage of tampering. The state requires regular emissions inspections of vehicles.
As the Times story noted, the problem is difficult to track down, since individual owners had the work done on bypassing the systems.
The report comes after a scandal involving Volkswagen cheating on emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and a controversial move by the EPA to allow more “glider” truck tractors.
Glider trucks are new truck chassis and cabs that are allowed to have a diesel engine. that does not meet current emissions standards. A limited number of glider trucks are allowed in cases where the owner-operator totaled a truck tractor.
The EPA later rescinded the expansion.
The bypassing of systems may help explain while diesel emissions have continued to increase, despite stiffer environmental standards and more recently less traffic, due to pandemic.
Thanks to its location on the Northeast Corridor, northern Delaware sees a high level of diesel-related emissions.
Federal grants have allowed the Delaware River and Bay Authority and other entities to convert ferries to cleaner diesel engines. The Port of Wilmington has moved to battery power for cranes.