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Feds fine GM for 6 million polluting cars

By Mike Lee | 07/03/2024 03:47 PM EDT

The settlement involves allegations that the carmaker underreported emissions of climate-forcing pollutants.

The sun is reflected in the grill of a 2013 GMC Yukon Denalli AWD in Pittsburgh.

The sun is reflected in the grill of a 2013 GMC Yukon Denali AWD on July 23, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Various Yukon Denali model years were included in the settlement deal between EPA and General Motors over excess emissions. Gene J. Puskar/AP

General Motors will pay $145.8 million and forfeit 50 million tons of greenhouse gas credits to settle allegations that it underreported carbon dioxide emissions from nearly 6 million pickup trucks and SUVs, according to EPA.

The case involves 5.9 million vehicles in model years 2012 through 2018, including the Silverado pickup, large SUVs like the Yukon and Escalade, and the midsize Equinox SUV.

GM will pay the monetary penalty to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees fuel-economy standards.

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EPA requires carmakers to test vehicles’ emissions a year after they’re sold, and again four years after they’re sold, to ensure they’re meeting federal pollution regulations. Both GM’s followup tests and EPA’s own evaluations showed GM had underreported the vehicles’ carbon pollution by about 10 percent.

“EPA’s vehicle standards depend on strong oversight in order to deliver public health benefits in the real world,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said 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 federal government has punished other carmakers for similar violations. Volkswagen pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid a $2.8 billion fine in 2017 over allegations that its diesel cars had been rigged to circumvent emissions tests. Stellantis and GM paid a combined $363 million in civil penalties last year for failing to meet fuel economy standards, Reuters reported at the time.

Correction: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information about the penalties against General Motors. The carmaker will pay a fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it will give up emissions credits as part of its settlement with EPA.