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US judge approves $1.5 billion Daimler diesel emission settlement

10 March 2021

A federal judge has approved a $1.5 billion settlement between Daimler and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Department of Justice, and California Air Resources Board (CARB) over alleged cheating on diesel emission tests.

The EPA and CARB alleged that, from 2009 to 2016, Daimler manufactured, imported, and sold more than 250,000 diesel Sprinter vans and passenger cars with undisclosed AECDs and defeat devices programmed into the vehicles’ complex emissions control software. These devices cause the vehicles to produce compliant results during emissions testing. But when not running a test, the vehicles’ emissions controls could perform less effectively, resulting in an increase in NOx emissions above compliant levels.

The settlement—first announced in September 2020 and now approved by DC federal judge Emmet Sullivan—included $875 million in civil penalties as well as the cost of recalling the vehicles (estimated at $436,000,000) and funding for mitigation projects in California ($110,000,000). In total, the settlement is valued at about $1.5 billion.

The case is smaller in scope than the diesel emission scandal involving Volkswagen (which impacted nearly 500,000 2.0 L TDI diesel vehicles and 78,000 3.0 L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles—but larger than alleged cheating by Fiat Chrysler, which involved about 100,000 vehicles.

Source: The Hill