A defeat device is a piece of gear that shuts off a car’s emissions control system, allowing vehicles to spew way more pollution into the air than is legal. Volkswagen used defeat devices that turned off during emissions tests, allowing them to cheat for years, but was eventually caught.
But right now, Congress is considering bills that would make defeat devices easier for anyone to install. Why would drivers go to the work of making their cars more polluting? Because people want to make their cars go faster or “enhance performance.” If this was limited to a few amateur racers sticking to the racetrack, that wouldn’t be a big deal. However, thousands of drivers are using these devices on public roads and the aftermarket manufacturers who make them want to keep it that way.
The EPA brought a case against one manufacturer that sold over 100,000 defeat devices. The amount of NOx pollution resulting from their product was nearly twice that of all the VW Dieselgate cars.
Manufacturers don’t want to settle more cases like that, so they’re lobbying Congress to make it harder for the EPA to enforce the rules. It’s basically Dieselgate, done DIY-style. And the bills (H. 350 and S. 203), called the RPM Act, have picked up a surprising amount of bi-partisan support. This week, act on climate by asking your Senators and Representative in the House to oppose the RPM Act of 2017.
Need some help making the call? At the button below, get talking points from the Union of Concerned Scientists.