CALIFORNIA – California is receiving $78.4 million from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in a settlement recently reached after a lawsuit. Federal, and state, regulators accused the company of cheating on emission tests. The result? They’ll be dolling out that large chunk of change for violating consumer protection and environmental laws in the state. Attorney, General Xavier Becerra, announced this at the end of last week.
Additionally, the company has also agreed to start a recall program on their diesel pickup trucks, allowing them to update the software. This will bring the trucks back to the required emissions limits. And, they plan to provide compensation to owners of over $2,000.
As Becerra explained in his announcement: “California’s emission standards exist to protect our residents and the environment from harmful pollution. Fiat Chrysler tried to evade these standards by installing software to cheat emissions testing.”
It turns out that about 100,000 diesel Dodge Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees of 2014-2016 models had devices that lowered the levels during emissions tests. However, it didn’t stop the nitrogen oxide emissions during everyday driving. They sold 13,000 of these trucks in California.
Protecting the Air
Once regulators from the US Environmental Protection Agency, as well as California Air Resources Board, found out about the devices, the lawsuit began. Now, Fiat Chrysler must pay penalties to the federal government and all fifty states of the US.
And, Becerra commented on the settlement itself: “With this settlement, we are holding Fiat Chrysler accountable and securing important funds for environmental protection efforts.” Interestingly, while the company agreed to the terms of the settlement, they did not admit to any wrongdoing. In fact, they did the opposite. In a statement released by the company, they claimed they “did not engage in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat emissions tests.”
While it is unclear what the truth is, the fact is that the trucks were not compliant with California laws. But, hopefully the lawsuit leads to help for the citizens of California. The money the company must pay will go in the state’s Air Pollution Control Fund.