Toyota hit with a $180 million fine for Clean Air Act violations
Toyota is the recipient of a massive $180 million fine from the Environmental Protection Agency for longstanding violations of the Clean Air Act, according to a report published Friday by The New York Times. This fine — the largest civil penalty ever issued for breaches in federal emissions-reporting requirements — stems from a decade-long period in which Toyota opted not to report emissions defects in its vehicles, which would have brought the company out of compliance with federal standards. This is alleged to have happened repeatedly from 2005 to 2015 and with company officials’ approval both in the US and Japan.
This behavior on its own paints an unflattering picture of the world’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer, but Toyota’s seeming lack of regard for the environment has manifested itself in other ways. For example, Toyota was one of a handful of manufacturers to side with the Trump administration in its move to roll back federal emissions standards.
While Toyota’s fine pales in comparison to the billions of dollars in fines levied against Volkswagen and Daimler for deliberate emissions cheating, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for the automaker, particularly with the likelihood that the incoming US administration will seek far more stringent emissions requirements and higher average fuel economy ratings for passenger vehicles.
Toyota, for its part, claims it’s already addressed the issue. “Nearly five years ago, Toyota identified and self-reported a process gap that resulted in a delay in the filing of certain non-public EPA reports for emissions-related defects in vehicles,” a company spokesperson told Roadshow. “Within months of discovering this issue, [Toyota] submitted all relevant delayed filings and put new robust reporting and compliance processes in place.”
The automaker maintains this delay in reporting resulted in “a negligible emissions impact, if any.” Toyota says it “continued to notify customers and remedy vehicles subject to any recalls, and [it] made the necessary emissions-related defect reports to our other regulators, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board.”
Still, Toyota does not dispute the $180 million fine. “Nonetheless, we recognize that some of our reporting protocols fell short of our own high standards, and we are pleased to have resolved this matter,” the company said.