Hyundai and Kia ordered to pay $100m for breaching US Clean Air Act

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice has announced a settlement with carmakers Hyundai and Kia which will see them pay $100m civil penalty to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations.

The two car companies allegedly sold 1.2 million cars from model years 2012 and 2013 whose design specifications did not conform to those certified to EPA, leading to misstatements of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, they gave consumers inaccurate information – overstating the fuel economy by one to six miles per gallon and understating the greenhouse gas emissions of their fleets.

The allegations concern five different entities: Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Kia Motors America, and Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc.

As well as the civil penalty, Hyundai and Kia will lose 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits – earnt for building vehicles with lower emissions than required by law – which are estimated to be worth more than $200m.

Environmental impact

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said: “Greenhouse gas emission laws protect the public from the dangers of climate change, and today’s action reinforces EPA’s commitment to see those laws through.”

“Businesses that play by the rules shouldn’t have to compete with those breaking the law. This settlement upholds the integrity of the nation’s fuel economy and greenhouse gas programmes and supports all Americans who want to save fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact.”

Hyundai and Kia must now reorganise their emissions certification group, revise test protocols, improve management of test data and enhance employee training before they conduct emissions testing to certify their model year 2017 vehicles.

Attorney General Eric Holder said: “This type of conduct quite simply will not be tolerated. And the Justice Department will never rest or waver in our determination to take action against any company that engages in such activities – whenever and wherever they are uncovered.”

Yesterday (3 November), edie reported on EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which will incorporate the threat of climate change into future operations and policymaking and its Sustainability Plan, which aims to slash the Federal Governments emissions.

Lois Vallely

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