U.S. EPA fines SoCal auto parts company over $152,000 for selling ‘defeat’ devices

Enforcement action undertaken jointly with California Air Resources Board

November 1, 2021

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LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with K 2 Motor Corp., doing business as Spec-D Tuning, over Clean Air Act (CAA) violations. K 2 Motor Corp, based out of the City of Industry, offered for sale and sold aftermarket auto parts that bypass or disable required emissions control systems, otherwise known as defeat devices. The company will pay $152,160 in penalties. This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative, which focuses on stopping the manufacture, sale, and installation of defeat devices on vehicles and engines. The enforcement action was taken in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

“We are proud to work alongside our state partners in stopping illegal aftermarket defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, Amy Miller. “We will continue to investigate and penalize anyone who manufactures, sells, or installs these types of illegal products.”

In addition to the EPA’s case, CARB also settled with K 2 Motor Corp. for emissions violations related to the sale of non-exempt aftermarket vehicle parts in California and collected a penalty of $88,696. The penalty will be used to fund air quality education for students in the San Diego area as well as support CARB research projects.

“These ‘defeat’ devices are illegal and harm public health. CARB takes enforcement of the Clean Air Act seriously, and thanks to our collaboration with the U.S. EPA, another company has been stopped from continuing to undermine our collective efforts to ensure clean air for all,” said Todd Sax, CARB Enforcement Division Chief.

EPA issued an information request to K 2 Motor Corp. regarding hardware and software the company had been selling since 2017. The company’s response to this information request indicated that it had sold almost 4,000 exhaust emission control delete hardware, including devices sometimes referred to as “straight” or “delete” pipes, used to bypass vehicle emission control systems, constituting violations of the Clean Air Act.

Earlier this year, EPA also had two settlements with other automotive parts distributors in Southern California for violations of the Clean Air Act. Walnut, Calif.-based Black Horse Racing Corp. and SLH Trading Corp., as well as Torrance, Calif.-based Eurocode Tuning, Inc., sold aftermarket auto parts that bypass or disable required emissions control systems in motor vehicles. The companies agreed to pay $24,457 in combined penalties. One of these agreements was reached under EPA’s expedited settlement agreement policy used to address minor, easily correctible violations.

Tampered diesel and gasoline powered vehicles emit large amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious public health problems in the United States. These health impacts include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Respiratory issues disproportionately affect families, especially children, living in underserved communities overburdened by pollution.

If you suspect someone is manufacturing, selling or installing illegal defeat devices, or is tampering with emissions controls, tell the EPA by writing to tampering@epa.gov.

For more information, please visit: www.epa.gov/enforcement/clean-air-act-vehicle-and-engine-enforcement-case-resolutions

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