In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report claiming the industry faced millions in fines from 2016 and that one manufacturer was expected to pay significant civil penalties.
You can probably guess which one. But FCA is by no means the only automaker affected by stringent fuel rulings.
The NHTSA said the number of automakers with emission credit shortfalls rose to 26 in 2016. For some perspective, 2011 was a terrible year for automakers, with 18 companies coming up short for a industry penalty of around $40 million. It’s clear the automotive sector is having real trouble meeting the rising emissions rules and less clear what should be done about it.
Despite initially agreeing to the aggressive, Obama-era fuel economy mandates, automakers were quick to meet with Donald Trump and ask that national efficiency rules be rolled back at the start of his term. While several companies eventually changed their position, there’s a growing assumption that the established targets will, for many, remain out of reach.
That’s because not enough motorists want to buy what Washington, in its infinite knowledge, insists they should buy. The resulting fines aren’t a problem to be solved, but rather an excellent opportunity for graft.