General Motors will pay $145.8 million in fines and forfeit greenhouse gas credits worth hundreds of millions of dollars to settle a probe over excess emissions, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The wrongdoing and forfeiting of regulatory credits was announced on the Environmental Protection Agency's newsroom, but the multimillion-dollar fine was noted on Reuters. The settlement comes after the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration probed General Motors over excess emissions in 2012-2018 model year vehicles. Required post-production tests done by the EPA and GM showed that the vehicles were producing 10% more emissions than GM initially claimed in compliance reports. 

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Emissions Crackdown

Since Volkswagen's "Dieselgate" scandal in 2015, regulators have been aggressively pursuing automakers thought to have skirted emissions rules. GM's breach was far milder than VW's, and didn't involve intentional deception or "defeat devices," but the new ruling shows that the EPA isn't backing down from enforcing tougher emissions requirements.

The action covers 4.6 million light-duty pickup trucks and 1.3 million "medium" SUVs. I say that in quotes because "medium" includes the small Chevy Captiva and giant Chevy Suburban. The following cars were found to have higher-than-claimed emissions:

  • 2012-2017 2.4L Chevy Equinox
  • 2012-2017 2.4L Chevy Captiva
  • 2012-2017 2.4L GMC Terrain
  • 2012-2018 5.4L Chevy Suburban
  • 2012-2018 5.3L Chevy Tahoe
  • 2012-2018 5.3L Chevy Silverado 1500
  • 2012-2014 5.3L Chevy Avalanche
  • 2012-2018 5.3L GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2012-2018 5.3L GMC Yukon (XL)
  • 2012-2014 6.2L GMC Yukon (XL)
  • 2012-2014 6.2L Cadillac Escalade

Regulators say the vehicles will not be recalled. GM is not required to fix them, and has forfeited regulatory greenhouse gas credits to make up for the added emissions. 

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

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