Fiat Chrysler paid huge fines to the US government for failing to meet fuel economy requirements in 2016.
When you look at the brands Fiat Chrysler makes, you start to notice a certain pattern: their fuel economy numbers suck.
Dodge Challenger SRT 392 with a 6.4-L HEMI V8 gets about 18 mpg. A Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a 6.2-L supercharged V8 is even worse at 13 mpg. A 2019 Ram 1500 pickup with four-wheel-drive and a 5.7-L V8 gets a combined 17 mpg, according to the EPA.
Basically, Fiat Chrysler makes gas guzzlers, and even though they have a few cars that are more efficient, it doesn’t do much to bring up the average of a fleet made almost entirely of SUVs, pickups, and gas guzzling muscle cars.
And it’s costing them. Big time.
Back in 2012, the United States government passed laws that required carmakers fleets to improve their average fuel economy with increasing numbers to the year 2025. Since its an average, carmakers could make some electric cars (like GM did with the Chevrolet Bolt) or other alternative fuel cars to really help bring up the fleet-wide average fuel economy. Or they could over-accomplish one year and bring forward those fuel economy numbers as credits to the following year. Or they could purchase credits from very efficient carmakers like Tesla or Toyota.
Or they could just ignore the rules and pay the fines. Which is what FCA did to the tune of $77 million.
According to FCA sources speaking to Reuters, the Italian-American automaker paid $77 million for failing to meet government requirements for the 2016 model year. The NHTSA released a report last December saying that the whole industry would pay $77 million in fines and that one company in particular was "expected to pay significant civil penalties."
You can read between the lines there.
That’s a big jump from 2011, where the whole industry paid $2.3 in fines, or 2014 when the whole industry paid $40 million in fines.
And it’s going to get worse. According to the NHTSA report, carmakers could face collective fines of $1.2 billion for failing to meet 2017 and 2018 model year requirements.
FCA is lobbying the current administration to roll back those fuel economy requirements or at least freeze them at current 2011 levels. Not sure what Fiat Chrysler’s plan is for the global climate apocalypse. Maybe they’ll just make a giant SUV we can all live in outer space.