Harley Davidson fined $12M by DOJ, EPA for motorcycle tuners that increase air pollution

Workers set up a Harley-Davidson road sign in front of a bar ahead of a party in China in 2011. Thursday, the Department of Justice and EPA announced it had reached a settlement with the bike-maker over nearly 350,000 "super tuners" it sold that allow customers to increase their bike's emissions to illegal levels. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Iconic motorcycle-maker Harley-Davidson agreed Thursday to pay a $12 million civil penalty for selling devices federal regulators say increased the amount of pollution its bikes put into the air.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Thursday, which followed an investigation into “super tuners” Harley-Davidson made and sold to customers.

The devices improved the performance of customers’ motorcycles but violated EPA emissions standards mandated by the U.S. Clean Air Act. Officials said nearly 350,000 super tuners were sold by Harley-Davidson over the last eight years.

“Given Harley-Davidson’s prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” Justice Dept. environmental attorney John C. Cruden said. “Anyone else who manufactures, sells, or installs these types of illegal products should take heed of Harley-Davidson’s corrective actions and immediately stop violating the law.”

Officials said Harley-Davidson also sold about 12,000 motorcycles between 2006 and 2008 that did not receive EPA emissions certification.

In addition to its $12 million fine, the bike-maker must also spend $3 million to mitigate air pollution through a separate clean air project.

Under the agreement, Harley-Davidson must stop selling the super tuners by Aug. 23 and offer to buy back every device it sold, and destroy them.

Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson did not comment on the settlement Thursday.


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