Hyundai and Kia will pay a record $100 million penalty to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations based on their sale of close to 1.2 million vehicles that will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in excess of what the automakers certified to EPA.
In addition to the civil penalty — the largest in Clean Air Act history — the automakers will spend about $50 million on measures to prevent any future violations. Hyundai and Kia will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits that the companies previously claimed, which are estimated to be worth over $200 million.
Automakers earn greenhouse gas emissions credits for building vehicles with lower emissions than required by law. These credits can be used to offset emissions from less fuel-efficient vehicle models or sold or traded to other automakers for the same purpose.
The complaint, filed jointly by the United States and the California Air Resources Board in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, concerns model year 2012 and 2013 Hyundai Accent (pictured), Elantra, Veloster and Santa Fe vehicles and the Kia Rio and Soul vehicles.
In addition to regulating car and truck emissions under the Clean Air Act, in September, the EPA said it would propose an endangerment finding that would allow it to regulate aircraft greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act if it determines that aircraft GHGs contribute to air pollution and endanger public health.