Mini-Truck Imports


EPA regulations affect the importation of mini-trucks that have been converted to nonroad use but were originally built and used as motor vehicles. Mini trucks are small trucks or vans, with engine displacement below 1,000 cubic centimeters and maximum engine power less than 30 kilowatts (kW). Japanese Kei-class light duty trucks that have been modified to limit speed to 25 mph (mini trucks) are the most popular mini-truck imports.

EPA estimates that approximately 3,000 – 4,000 mini-trucks are brought into the United States each month. The vast majority of the mini-trucks inspected by EPA in 2008 were illegal because they lacked a required EPA-issued certificate of conformity with Clean Air Act (CAA) emission standards. The illegal mini-trucks were small Japanese vehicles with engines around 600 cc.

EPA revised regulations that affect the importation of vehicles that have been converted to nonroad use but were originally built and used as motor vehicles. These regulatory provisions were published in the Federal Register at 73 FR 59053 (October 8, 2008). The regulations do not prohibit importation of mini-trucks, but they do require certification as well as installation of an approved speed governor before importation. The new regulations apply to converted vehicles imported on or after December 8, 2008.

Before importation, non-road mini-truck importers (or their suppliers) must certify their vehicles by demonstrating that they are non-road vehicles and comply with applicable emission standards. As part of this process, the exact design of any speed governor must be approved by EPA in writing prior to importation.

More Resources

Change in Non-Compliant Mini-Truck Importations (U.S. Customs). U.S. Customs' procedures regarding non-compliant mini-trucks.


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