Automakers Settle Greenhouse Gas Case

EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced Hyundai and Kia will pay a $100 million penalty and will pay about $50 million more on actions to prevent further violations.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced Nov. 3 that Hyundai and Kia are settling a greenhouse gas enforcement case and will pay a $100 million penalty and will spend about $50 million more on actions to prevent further violations.

The federal government alleged the companies violated the Clean Air Act by selling nearly 1.2 million vehicles that will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in excess of what they certified to EPA. This is the largest civil penalty in Clean Air Act history. The agencies' news release said Hyundai and Kia also will forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits they previously claimed and which are estimated to be worth more than $200 million; automakers earn greenhouse gas emissions credits for building vehicles with lower emissions than required by law, and the credits can be used to offset emissions from less-fuel-efficient vehicle models or can be sold or traded to other automakers.

"This unprecedented resolution with Hyundai and Kia underscores the Justice Department's firm commitment to safeguarding American consumers, ensuring fairness in every marketplace, protecting the environment, and relentlessly pursuing companies that make misrepresentations and violate the law," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "This type of conduct quite simply will not be tolerated, and the Justice Department will never rest or waver in our determination to take action against any company that engages in such activities – whenever and wherever they are uncovered."

"Greenhouse gas emission laws protect the public from the dangers of climate change, and today's action reinforces EPA's commitment to see those laws through," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. "Businesses that play by the rules shouldn't have to compete with those breaking the law. This settlement upholds the integrity of the nation's fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs and supports all Americans who want to save fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact."

The complaint was filed jointly by the United States and the California Air Resources Board. The allegations concern the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Veloster, and Santa Fe vehicles and the Kia Rio and Soul vehicles.