Their owners won’t face any punishment, but nearly 74,000 motorcycles, ATVs and three-wheeled trucks from China are operating in the U.S. illegally, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
After what it called “a lengthy investigation,” the EPA has determined that “certificates of conformity” — showing that the vehicles meet Clean Air Act emissions standards — should never have been issued. Incomplete or falsified information about the vehicles was given the agency from 2006 to 2012, and inaccurate tests may have been performed, according to EPA.
Wednesday’s action affects Wildfire Motors Corporation products sold from 2006 to 2012, the agency said. The company is known for its distinctive three-wheeled trucks, touted as getting up to 70 miles per gallon. The trucks are considered to be “motorcycles” by the federal Department of Transportation.
Wildfire, which also manufactures dirt bikes, did not immediately return calls or emails on Wednesday.
“This action impacts companies that manufactured and imported only. An individual is not responsible for a company’s wrongdoing, and they can continue to use their vehicle,” the EPA said in a statement.
Specifically, certificates of conformity ensure that vehicles “will meet federal emission standards” for pollutants, such as carbon monoxide.
The agency wouldn’t comment further, classifying the incident as an “prospective enforcement matter.” But officials did say that under the Clean Air Act, manufacturers or importers of vehicles not covered by the necessary certificates could face penalties of up to $37,500 per vehicle.
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