Fiat Chrysler under investigation for Clean Air Act violations


Courtesy of Jeep

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of many vehicles in violation of the Clean Air Act. Photo courtesy of Jeep

The Environmental Protection Agency recently notified Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its U.S. division that it violated the Clean Air Act by installing undisclosed engine management software in several passenger vehicles powered by diesel engines.

The violation is specifically for approximately 104,000 models of Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years.

In September 2015, the EPA expanded testing to look for emissions defeat devices on light-duty vehicles and discovered that these cars emitted increased nitrogen oxide emissions during normal use situations. During that testing, it discovered at least eight undisclosed pieces of software that can alter how they emitted pollution.

A second agency is also investigating Fiat

In addition to the EPA violation, the California Air Resources Board (or CARB) has also issued one. Both agencies are continuing to conduct investigations. “Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” says CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

The EPA is currently investigating whether or not the auxiliary emission control devices in the Jeep Grand Cherokees and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickups actually constitute defeat devices — which are illegal. The EPA says the FCA could be liable for both civil penalties and injunctive relief.

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Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.