Whether or not their intentions were to truly help their customers reduce their carbon footprint or save them money at the gas pump, Sunrise Ford has learned the hard way that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is serious about dealerships complying with regulations forbidding pre-sale modifications of engines. The auto retailer, with outlets in both Fontana and North Hollywood, received a $175,000 fine for installing a device called a "Fuel Maximizer" on light and medium-duty vehicles between 2005 and 2007. The do-hickey is said to improve both gas mileage and performance by altering the flow of air as it mixes with the gasoline before combustion, though we suspect that it is likely as effective as a dimple wrap.

It wasn't mentioned in the press release how much Sunrise Ford was charging for the device and its installation or whether they were offering customers a full refund and removal. Seeing as though the dealership's motto is "Where integrity has meaning!", we hope its management is at least considering it. Press release after the break.

[Source: California Air Resources Board via Green Car Congress]


Car dealership fined $175,000 for installing unapproved aftermarket parts

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board fined Sunrise Ford, a car dealership with outlets in North Hollywood and Fontana, $175,000 last month for illegally modifying 2005 through 2007 model year light- and medium-duty vehicles with an aftermarket device before the vehicles were sold.

The part, called a Fuel Maximizer, is intended to improve gas mileage and performance in cars by changing the flow of air as it mixes with the gasoline before combustion. Discovery of the unapproved parts was made during a routine dealer inspection.

"We expect dealers to follow the law, which requires that certified aftermarket parts only be installed after a vehicle is sold," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Our air quality can suffer when careless mistakes are made, so we hope this fine sends a strong message."

It is illegal in the state of California to perform modifications on a new car prior to sale. Modifying car engines can increase harmful emissions and may lead to the vehicle failing California's smog test.

Per the terms of the settlement, Sunrise Ford will pay a total of $175,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund which supports research and programs intended to reduce California's carbon footprint.

California's air quality measures are in place to prevent excessive emissions that can negatively affect public health. Ozone, also known as urban smog, can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughs, heightened asthma rates, cardiopulmonary ailments and premature deaths.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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