EPA's Tampering and Fuel Switching Programs

CED-79-47: Published: Mar 1, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1979.

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Efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were reviewed to determine the effectiveness of the program to decrease tampering with automobile emission control devices and fuel switching. The practice of using leaded gasoline in vehicles equipped with catalytic converters and designed for unleaded gasoline, if widespread, will substantially increase pollutant emissions.

The problems associated with tampering and fuel switching primarily occur after the vehicle is put into service rather than as the vehicle comes off the assembly line. An active enforcement program against tampering practices would require large personnel resources and would probably be impractical at the Federal level. An effective public awareness campaign is the key factor in an antitampering program.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: EPA should consider the use of state and local inspection and maintenance programs as a potential deterrent to tampering. The Administrator of EPA should evaluate existing inspection and maintenance programs to determine their effectiveness in detecting and deterring tampering; work with States which have tampering laws to encourage more vigorous enforcement; and examine the feasibility of using States' periodic safety inspection programs to check for readily observable items, such as tampered gasoline tank filler inlets. EPA should continue recent actions involving tampering and fuel switching with an emphasis on controlling emissions, develop public awareness programs emphasizing the consequences of switching and tampering on air quality and public health, and publicize enforcement actions taken against violators.

    Agency Affected:


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