Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV paid a $77 million civil penalty after its U.S.-assembled passenger car fleet fell short of required fuel economy targets in the 2016 model year, the company said on Thursday.
The Italian-American automaker was the only automaker to pay a penalty in the 2016 model year under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to a document released by NHTSA in December.
The penalty, which was paid in the fourth quarter of 2018 according to Fiat Chrysler, was the largest such fine assessed to a single company in at least five years, according to NHTSA figures.
Fiat Chrysler and some other automakers have lobbied the Trump administration to ease fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, in part because low gas prices and the surging popularity of sport-utility vehicles weren’t accounted for when the rules were enacted in 2012.
“We at FCA are committed to improving the fuel efficiency of our fleet and expanding our U.S. manufacturing footprint,” Shane Karr, head of external affairs at Fiat Chrysler for North America, said in a statement. “Ultimately, both goals are better served by a CAFE program more closely aligned to the U.S. market, than by requiring companies to make large compliance payments because assumptions made in 2011 turned out to be wrong.”
NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency have proposed capping mileage requirements at roughly 37 miles per gallon after 2020 instead of raising them to about 47 mpg by 2025 under standards enacted during the Obama administration.
Environmental groups and several U.S. states oppose the proposal and have threatened a court challenge.
By Ryan Beene