GM To Pay Feds $146 Million Over Excess Emissions

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GM To Pay Feds $146 Million Over Excess EmissionsBrandon Bell - Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on General Motors over excessive emissions on nearly six million vehicles. In an action announced Wednesday, GM will voluntarily retire 50 million metric tons (megagrams) of greenhouse gas credits and 30.6 million gas mileage credits to the EPA to settle with the U.S. government over its vehicles not complying with federal emissions and fuel economy requirements.

"This agreement is the result of an EPA investigation that identified excess CO2 emissions from approximately 5.9 million 2012-2018 model year (MY) GM vehicles currently in use," the EPA said in a release. "Tests done by both EPA and GM showed the GM vehicles were emitting more than 10 percent higher CO2 on average than GM’s initial GHG compliance reports claimed."

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Specifically, Chevrolet Equinox, Captiva, Tahoe, Silverado, Suburban, and Avalanche models, ranging from model year 2012 up to 2018, are all implicated in the emissions scandal. Derivative versions of these models from luxury off-shoot brands like GMC and Cadillac, such as the GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade are also included in the 5.9 million units under fire.


GM told ABC News in a statement that it would not be admitting to any foul play relating to this agreement and that its models comply with the Clean Air Act, asserting that it followed all necessary regulations in the pollution and mileage certification of its vehicles. Additionally, GM spokesperson Bill Grotz told ABC News that the issue stems from EPA testing changes made in 2016, some four years after the release of millions of the implicated vehicles.

"We believe this is the best course of action to swiftly resolve outstanding issues with the federal government regarding this matter," Grotz said in a statement to the Washington Post. "GM remains committed to reducing auto emissions and working toward achieving the Administration’s fleet electrification goals."

Despite the EPA's investigation and the reported hit of a $146 million fine imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all 5.9 million GM vehicles will remain on the road without any recall or updates. As a condition of GM's voluntary credit forfeiting, the EPA will not formally determine why these millions of GM vehicles are over-emitting, either. Current owners of these cars will not be required to take any action going forward, Grotz told ABC News.

Even so, the watchdog wings of the federal government are proud of the outcome. With NHTSA, EPA, and the Department of Justice all looped in on curbing emissions offenses, GM is the latest automaker to be caught up in the mix, following others like Volkswagen and Hyundai.

"EPA’s vehicle standards depend on strong oversight in order to deliver public health benefits in the real world," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "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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