GM to Pay $145.8M Penalty for Excess Emissions from 5.9M Vehicles

GM's model year 2012-2018 pickups and SUVs were found to be emitting 10% more carbon dioxide on average than the company reported to the EPA.


General Motors (GM) has agreed to a $145.8 million penalty and to forfeit 50 million metric tons of carbon allowances following a U.S. government investigation into excess emissions from approximately 5.9 million of its vehicles, Reuters reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced July 3 that GM vehicles from the 2012-2018 model years were found to emit more than 10% more carbon dioxide on average than initially reported in GM’s compliance documents. These discrepancies were identified through the EPA’s light-duty vehicle in-use testing program.

In addition to the monetary penalty, GM will cancel more than 30.6 million fuel economy credits for vehicles from the 2008-2010 model years to resolve the compliance issues.

This settlement does not involve any allegations of intentional misconduct, unlike the 2015 Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. The EPA is not seeking a recall of the vehicles in question.

“EPA's vehicle standards depend on strong oversight in order to deliver public health benefits in the real world,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a statement. “Our investigation has achieved accountability and upholds an important program that's reducing air pollution and protecting communities across the country.”

The investigation revealed the affected vehicles include 4.6 million full-size pickups and SUVs, and 1.3 million midsize SUVs.

This is not the first time GM has faced penalties for fuel economy issues; in June 2023, NHTSA reported GM paid $128.2 million in penalties for not meeting fuel economy requirements for 2016 and 2017.

Despite the penalties, GM maintains it has complied with all applicable laws and regulations, saying in a statement it "has at all times complied with and adhered to all applicable laws and regulations in the certification and in-use testing of the vehicles in-question," but added "this is the best course of action to swiftly resolve outstanding issues with the federal government regarding this matter."

Before the first fine in 2023, GM had not paid a fine in the 40-year history of the fuel economy program and had intended to use credits to cover its compliance shortfalls. However, faced with mounting penalties and compliance challenges, the company opted to pay the fines.

NHTSA had proposed increasing fuel economy standards from 2027 through 2032, a move estimated to cost GM $6.5 billion over the period. Under the final rule issued in June, GM could face up to $906 million in penalties through 2031.

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