California Tells Automakers to Admit to Software Disabling Emissions Systems

by Aryn Plax

Oct 27, 2020

Years after several automakers were caught using software to evade federal and state emissions tests for their diesel vehicles, California regulators urged automakers and engine manufacturers by the end of 2020 to disclose any programs that tamper with vehicles’ emissions control systems.

The California Air Resources Board’s letter mentioned current emissions investigations and said that, if automakers voluntarily disclose these emissions tampering programs by the end of the year, they may get reduced penalties.

If they fail to disclose this information, it may affect future enforcement of emissions regulations. This letter went to Volkswagen, Daimler AG, Fiat Chrysler, and other vehicle and engine manufacturers.

The regulatory board said it will open a testing laboratory next year to detect violations of California’s emissions regulations.

Alt text: A man diagnoses a software error in the vehicle.

This heightened regulation and testing follows several automotive scandals in which automakers such as Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler were found to have used programs to allow their diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests. In some cases, these vehicles released up to 40 times the legal limit of pollutants in everyday driving situations.

The board collected more than $1 billion in fines from these settlements. Automakers remain on the hook for compensating consumers who bought these faulty diesel vehicles.

Source: Automotive News