UPDATE: EPA Accuses Fiat/Chrysler of Violating Clean Air Act with Diesel Pickups and SUV’s

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UPDATE:  Fiat/Chrysler is responding to EPA allegations its computer programming on some diesel vehicles violated the Clear Air Act, implying the issue of notice is part of an outgoing administration’s attempt to improperly sanction the company.

In a news release response, Fiat/Chrysler issued the following statement, which reads in part:

“FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines.  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.”

“FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA’s concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.”

“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.”

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accusing Fiat/Chrysler of violating emissions rules when it came to diesel engines in  2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks.  The agency says around 104,000 vehicles are affected.

The EPA alleges that eight software programs in these vehicle allowed increased emissions of nitrogen oxides from the vehicles, and that was not disclosed to the agency as required by law. The California Air Resources Board has also issued a notice of violation to the carmaker.

“Failing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in a news release. “We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices. All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.”

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

The EPA stopped short of calling the auxiliary emission control devices “defeat devices,” which are illegal and could lead to billions in fines as it did with Volkswagen, which was accused of developing one set of software standards for engine testing in diesel vehicles but another for when they were in actual operation.

You can see the full notice of violation here.

Fiat/Chrysler has not responded to the allegations.

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