By on February 23, 2010

The Wall Street Journal [sub] reports that Indiana diesel engine supplier Cummins will pay $2.1m in civil penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act. The EPA and the Justice Department complaint alleges that Cummins shipped 570k heavy-duty diesel engines to OEM customers between 1998 and 2006 without the emissions-control systems that make them Clean Air Act-compliant. It’s not even clear clear that the crud-controlling gear is missing. The paperwork is.  Cummins spokesfolks admit that 405 (or about .7 percent) of those engines never received documentation that shows they were fitted with the appropriate emissions-control systems. This is particularly embarrassing for Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who recently gave Cummins $54m in Recovery Act grants intended to improve truck efficiency and emissions, and called the firm “the leader in clean-diesel manufacturing.”

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26 Comments on “EPA Fines Cummins $2.1m For Unclean Diesels...”

  • avatar

    This is particularly embarrassing for…Chu, who recently gave Cummins $54m in Recovery Act grants…and called the firm “the leader in clean-diesel manufacturing.”

    A 2.1 mil penalty skimmed off the top of a 54 mil taxpayer grant? Not a bad return on “investment”, I’d say. And don’t kid yourself. These Maobama types have too much hubris to be embarrassed by much of anything.

    • 0 avatar

      Persisting in using terms like “Maobama” really undercuts anything that you have to say.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right. I should be more formal when speaking about our president, and call him Chairman Maobama. Sorry for the disrespect. Anyhow, as a net taxpayer feeling rather put upon, I’m equal opportunity. I was just as disgusted at Bush for his lack of fiscal discipline.

    • 0 avatar
      also Tom

      If you’re a patriot and a participating citizen, you respect the office enough to not denigrate any serving president, Republican or Democrat. This is at best a gruff and immature display. You could’ve made your point without it.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry to disabuse you of your notion, however, in my view respect is earned, and not deserved simply by way of holding office. We do not have kings, but elected officials–officials who are supposed to do “the people’s” work. And, for those upset at the political commentary on TTAC, please understand that at no time in the history of the car industry has it been so politicized as now. These sorts of comments are allowed, indeed necessary, by the very nature of the topic. When a politician essentially takes over an established industry it is reasonable to compare him to a dictator.

    • 0 avatar

      Think of it as the government’s cut for brokering the $54m transfer of wealth deal. And being “green” in nature, nobody will complain.

      re: Objections to “Maobama types” comment. Forgive this naive Canadian, but isn’t America all about free speech? In trying to suppress the viewpoint that Obama supporters are somewhat Maoist in their tactics, you only validate it in my opinion. After all the years of Bush-bashing, I would expect Obama to be fair game.

    • 0 avatar

      The issue isn’t whether you respect Obama, or Bush for that matter. To equate Obama with Mao Zedong shows that you either don’t understand what a communist is, or that you’re too lazy to move beyond the intellectually dishonest labels being promulgated by Beck and the Tea Party. Either way, it undercuts whatever commentary you have to offer, no matter how sincere or insightful, since there’s little use in paying attention to ignorance or sloth.

    • 0 avatar


      I agree with you in principal. Are you willing to go on record here in stating your disapproval of Bush being called “Hitler” by some, or do you consider that to be an “honest” label?

    • 0 avatar


      Absolutely. Whatever problems I have with Bush and his policies/actions, calling him Hitler, fascist, or any other facile names that attempt to tar him by association make it clear to me that the speaker is either ignorant or dishonest. I think that Obama has made plenty of mistakes so far, but to criticize him via labels instead of facts makes one’s statements frivolous at best.

    • 0 avatar


      Thank you for your reply. Your intellectual honesty is refreshing, and unfortunately somewhat rare.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr Car Go writes: The issue isn’t whether you respect Obama, or Bush for that matter. To equate Obama with Mao Zedong shows that you either don’t understand what a communist is, or that you’re too lazy to move beyond the intellectually dishonest labels being promulgated by Beck and the Tea Party.

      Now you seem to be changing the issue from “respect of the office” to my equating Obama with Mao. But, I never equated him with Mao. I likened him to Mao. Big difference. And in certain respects he is very like Mao. Not in others. As far as my not knowing much about Chinese Communism, you presume too little. I’ve traveled to the mainland several times, have mainland Chinese friends, and am quite familiar with the country’s history, both political and economic. I’ve read Chang and Halliday, Macfarquhar and Schoenhals and many others. [If you want to read a draft of an essay on certain CR model operas I’m working on, let me know and I’ll get it to you.] Obviously in the realm of violent revolution Obama is no Mao. But, in the context of American tradition, he is much closer to him than, say, whatever the founders had in mind. And his followers are seemingly caught up in the same psychological process that leads to the Cult of Personality (a Mao perfected “art-form” from the Great Leap Forward era to the CR).

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with elvis, this is becoming the USSA. First these kind of grants, weather to cummins or the texas cattle association or to the $2.6 million to study the effects of alcohol on chinese prostitutes (yes we did)is not the place of the federal govt. This is how trillions are wasted on earmarks for brother in law deals.
      Why are we punishing business with these redicules EPA regulations if these clean diesels are already clener than car exhaust why keep tying their hand behind their back. The reason detroit has become a wasteland is not a failure of the big three, it is because the statist federal govt wont keep their greedy hand out private industry. The Epa is becoming the new IRS. They have caused millions in uneccisary human deaths. Thirty years ago, on June 14, l972, the Environmental Protection Agency’s first dministrator, William Ruckelshaus, rebuffed the advice of his scientific advisors and announced a ban on virtually all domestic uses of the pesticide DDT. This was done despite the fact that DDT had earlier been hailed as a “miracle” chemical that repelled and killed mosquitoes that carry malaria, a disease that can be fatal to humans.

      Ruckelshaus (who later worked with the Environmental Defense Fund, the very activist organization that had urged the ban) cited health concerns in defending his decision. He reported that DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichlorethane) killed many beneficial insects, birds, and aquatic animals — not just malarial mosquitoes — and that it “presents a carcinogenic risk” to humans, based on laboratory studies showing increased cancer risk in mice fed extremely high doses. The scientific community was outspoken in opposing such a ban, noting that there was no evidence that DDT posed a hazard to human, birds or other animals health. Yet the ban still took effect.

      Now, thirty years later, it is vividly apparent that DDT was not hazardous to human health and that the banning of its domestic use led to its diminished production in the United States — and less availability of DDT for the developing world. The results were disastrous: at least 1-2 million people continue to die from malaria each year, 30-60 million or more lives needlessly lost since the ban took effect. This is especially tragic since there was hope of eradicating the disease altogether when DDT was first introduced and its potential was recognized.

      All one has to do is check the current economy of Michigan. Labor unions here have destroyed the economy of the state. The massive job losses are a result of unions demanding automakers dance to their tune or else. High wages, demands for premium health care and job security have destroyed the auto industry in Michigan. The sad part is these same unions are still calling the shots by telling their out of work members to vote for Obama. I can see why—he will deliver what they can’t—a cheap check in the mail.

      Programs like ethanol which cost taxpayers about $4.00 a gallon to produce to a fuel that the private market has rejected because it is a poor fuel.The ethanol industry, with the blessing of Congress and the Obama Administration, is lobbying the EPA to mandate increased ethanol usage. This would be accomplished by increasing the allowable proportion of ethanol in gasoline from 10% to 15% (E10 to E15). In addition, ethanol lobbyists are pushing the administration for fleet mandates on automakers, to require a higher percentage of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on ethanol blends of up to 85% (E85).

      The 70+ year experiment in central planning that was the Soviet Union ended in failure. Why can’t our political class learn from history?

      By granting lucrative tax credits to finance the entree of Big Corn into the motor fuel business during times of high gasoline prices, Washington definitely has some skin in the game.

      Conservatives hate ethanol because it represents an intrusion of Big Government into the marketplace. Tons of dough are being spent to try to develop an alternative fuel that represents a very poor alternative – perhaps even a net energy loss.

      Liberals and Greens (at least the honest ones) quietly admit their disdain for corn based ethanol. Tax credits are “corporate welfare” for ADM and Cargill. You can’t name a crop that is more depleting of the soil. Corn requires heavy fertilization, which in turn runs off, polluting the Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico. The ethanol production subsidy makes it more difficult to develop competing technologies.

      The marketplace is not clamoring for more ethanol. To engineers and mechanics, it is underpowered and corrosive, thus hard on pipelines and rotating equipment. Last but not least is the impact that a distorted world price of corn has on the developing world’s food supply.

      No, the only parties who are unabashed ethanol lovers are:

      Big Corn
      Corn Farmers & Corn States (especially Iowa)
      Politicians (Congress & Iowa Caucus Presidential candidates)
      The only thing efficient about corn ethanol is the Beltway process of turning taxpayer dollars into reliable votes.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    I guess Cummins musta been giving Fiatsler’s Purchasing a hard time over next year’s piece cost. So Government Motors had to step in, and show them the new facts of life. Real nice diesel business you got there, Cummins. Be a shame if we had to shut it down.

    I wouldn’t confuse that $54M payment with Cummins’ mainline business. I’m guessing that grant cash goes to some flowers and honey enviro-fuel nonsense. Cummins in name, yes, but having nothing to do with their real business, which is providing torque-in-volume at a market cost, not greenie politicians’ wet dreams.

  • avatar

    I am amused by the love/hate relationship of tree huggers with both Diesels and nuclear power.

  • avatar

    they shipped 570K units not meeting emissions, then the fine is $ 3.68 per unit. Not bad considering proper emission control costs some hundred or even thousand $ per unit. why would I install emission control then, I rather pay a fine after receiving a grant 20 times the fine.

    Or does it mean 405 of them didn’t have emission control and the fine is for those 405???

    • 0 avatar

      From the sound of it… the fine is for about $5100 dollars per motor for the 405 motors shipped without paperwork.

    • 0 avatar

      Another interpretation might be that all of the motors shipped (570k of them) had the environmental controls, but 405 of them did not have the paperwork. It does not seem economic to have 405 units with possibly special engineering or tooling to skip the environmental controls. Probably a paperwork mistake.

  • avatar

    I wish Cummins could ship engines without the emissions control systems. I drive a recycling truck with a Cummins 6.7L, with the DPF system – what a pain in the ass. Once or twice a day, power and throttle response is retarded for up to 45 minutes while the damn filter cleans itself of soot. When I’m getting paid bonuses on tonnes per hour, anything that slows me down is literally money out of my pocket. Get rid of the filter, pollute the air, and then I can get extra cash to buy a more efficient car. Or not.

  • avatar

    Stacks on a diesel pickup (or any louder-than-stock exhaust on a diesel pickup, for that matter) are a positive indicator for being an asshole.

  • avatar

    Apparently Dodge has been having a field day with their fleet customers stating that the Cummins Diesel is going to be the only engine that meets EPA requirements without the need for Urea-injection in the next generation of HD pickups. From what I have heard from Ford engineers however, they are only going to be able to play that card till later in this year before manufacturing and sales quotas catch up with them, or, apparently, they might have caught up a bit early.

    The upcoming 6.7 liter Ford Powerstroke diesel is not only going to be the lightest, most powerful, and most fuel efficient heavy truck diesel on the market, but it will be the cleanest and with Urea refills expected to cost around $30-$50 every 7500 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Know what, Nullo? As much as I think Ford are a bunch of idiots, I do believe you’re right about that Scorpion/PowerStroke diesel.

      Ford was foolishly blundering around with International… for years… lawsuits… buybacks… warranty disputes… regulatory squabbles… all of it. The works. And sadly, International will now take that Ford-paid and fully developed engine and sell it on the world market… including to Nissan, which we can assume will have a heavy duty pickup on the market at some point, to compete with Super Duty.

      Ford may have been foolish for years, yes, but in the process they got right on top of diesel technology, or should have (and I think Mullaly and Kuzak will insure that they do). It’s likely cost them a fortune to tool up for this new engine, but I expect Ford’s diesel to be the best in the world for the next generation. I’m excited for them.

    • 0 avatar

      Null Modo,

      I believe none of these engines mentioned above are placed in a Dodge product. The post says “heavy-duty” engines. I take that to mean over the road trucks, not pickup trucks. In that case Dodge does have the only engine that meets EPA requirements without the need for Urea-injection, at least for now.

  • avatar

    Let’s fill in the missing details in this article!

    Cummins Corporate Communications: John Wall on Cummins’ consent decree with the EPA

    On Monday, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced that Cummins has entered into a consent decree with the EPA. I want to take this opportunity to explain to you what this means and reinforce that Cummins takes our environmental responsibility very seriously.

    A settlement between Cummins, the EPA and California ARB was reached due to Cummins’ non-compliance with emission certification requirements from 1998 to 2006. This issue is centered on a process called “delegated assembly.” Because engines and aftertreatment components are manufactured in different locations, they are shipped independently to our OEM customers for final vehicle assembly — a process that is understood and accepted by EPA and ARB. When we do this, we must properly track, audit and report to ensure the correct aftertreatment components are installed with each engine. This is an EPA requirement.

    During the course of an audit of the process, we discovered inconsistencies in reporting. Further investigation identified 405 engines and aftertreatment systems that were in non-compliance – they did not have the correct aftertreatment device installed for that engine. In some cases the aftertreatment component was actually more capable than the correct one — but that does not matter. It was the wrong one.

    The EPA press release focused on the fact that 578,000 engines were shipped without aftertreatment. That makes an eye-catching headline, but, in fact, that’s the normal “delegated assembly” delivery process. What is at issue is that 405 engines were not in compliance.

    To avoid lengthy litigation, Cummins, EPA and ARB have agreed to settle the issue under a mutually negotiated “‘consent decree.” As part of the settlement, Cummins has agreed to pay $1.68M to EPA and $0.42M to CARB.

    Some things to be clear on:
    Cummins made no attempt to circumvent environmental regulations.
    EPA alleged that Cummins failed to properly maintain its auditing and reporting processes on delegated assembly and requested verification for 578,000 engines shipped between 1998 and 2006. After an audit, 405 engines, or less than 0.07%, were conclusively found to have an incorrect aftertreatment part number assembled with the engine.
    A campaign is already underway to replace the aftertreatment devices on these 405 engines.
    This in no way is related to nor impacts certification of 2010 engines.

    This is not about Cummins deliberately exceeding emission regulations, but it very clearly highlights an issue with our delegated assembly manufacturing, auditing and reporting processes for 1998-2006 products. In 2007, the majority of our EPA-certified on-highway engines began using aftertreatment systems, and in 2011, many of our off-highway engines will also require aftertreatment. We are investing significantly to improve our process capability for delegated assembly to ensure we are 100% in compliance with the rule. And we are working with our OEM customers to ensure they are ordering and receiving the correct parts and we are receiving the needed information for tracking, reporting and auditing. The message from EPA and ARB is clear — they are not looking for best efforts or even “six sigma” — they expect 100% compliance.

    I want to thank the many employees who are involved in this work and ask that you maintain your diligence in ensuring the processes are fully capable. It is important for our customers, EPA and ARB to know they can count on Cummins to do what we say we will do, and to do what is right for the environment.

    Dr. John C. Wall
    Vice President – Chief Technical Officer

  • avatar

    I think Clessie Cummins is rolling over in his grave.

    The man was a true innovator and prided himself on efficiency & power.

  • avatar

    Nooooooooo. I own one of these (a ’99 2500). We pull a trailer for our dirt oval kart racing team. It is also my first diesel, and I am never going back. However, 2002 will be the newest dodge/cummins I will buy. And I take pride that the emissions coming out the pipe of my 5.9 I6 is *cleaner* than that of gasoline engine vehicles. Even though I have a ‘slightly’ modified exhaust system. Just because the smoke is black, doesn’t mean its more harmful.

  • avatar

    coursairinc – so you don’t believe the negative effects of DDT? I have some mosquito traps (plastic container they fly inot and can’t get out) I’d rather rely on than DDT slowly poisoning my children.

    Corn is hard on the environment? Worse than tobbaco? Corn is certainly more common.

    Ethanol works well in vehicles properly prepped for it. Check with the Brazilians. I think I’ve read that with higher compression and ignition adjustments ethanol does fine. Ethanol in a vehicle engineered for gasoline – not so good. Mileage reductions.

    Do I support ethanol? I support anything that works. I have patience enough to give a technology time to mature. I’m not likely to support spending billions to set up ethanol only to close up the refineries in 5-10 years. I do support gov’t initiatives to force manufacturers of polluting technologies like the automobile, mining, farming, etc to adopt more efficient and cleaner technologies as time move forward. Some of these industries would simply go the cheapest routes and the easiest routes if allowed (the route of greed, not the route of doing what is best for all of us).

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