Fiat Chrysler Automobiles caught cheating emission tests

The California Air Resource Board and the EPA have found the automaker in violation of their respective laws.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notified Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) that it is in violation of the Clean Air Act, since its software installed in some of its diesel vehicles increased the emission of its vehicles beyond those claimed by the company.

According to the EPA’s statement, the “light-duty model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the United States” are found to be releasing excess nitrogen oxide.

The move comes in the wake of several class action lawsuits that have been filed against the company. Its only now that the government is stepping in.

The EPA has accused FCA of installing defeat devices in some of its diesel vehicles so as to cheat emission tests.

It is to be seen whether the EPA will pursue FCA with the same vigour with which it pursued Volkswagen, who had to ultimately shell out an exemplary $4.3 billion in fines, the largest given by any automaker in the U.S.

The EPA is also working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has also accused FCA of violating its clean air laws.

At this juncture, FCA’s transgressions appear to be on a small scale than that of VW. The EPA has alleged that 104,000 FCA vehicles were effected by its claims while in VW’s case it was nearly 500,000 cars.

FCA’s cheating scandal came to light midst enhanced emission testing following VW’s emission cheating case.

“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” said Mary D. Nichols, CARB Chairperson in a press release. “CARB and US EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

At this juncture, the FCA has denied any wrongdoing,  and seems to be looking to the Trump administration for support, given Trump’s anti-environment standpoint.

“FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” said FCA said in a statement.

“FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not ‘defeat devices’ under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously.”

Despite this posturing, the initial evidence against FCA seems rather convincing.

The EPA has found further 8 pieces of undisclosed software in FCA’s vehicles which alter how much pollution is emitted during the vehicle’s emission tests.

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