Toyota is being ordered to pay a fine amounting to $180 million by the Environmental Protection Agency for its violations of the Clean Air Act. The New York Times reported the fine as the largest civil penalty issued relating to federal emissions offenses.
The violations cover an entire decade (2005 to 2015) of the automaker failing to report emissions defects in its vehicles. Had the defects been reported, it would mean the manufacturer is compliant with federal standards.
Opting not to report its emissions defects reflects poorly on Toyota, the world’s second-largest car manufacturer. It also speaks volumes about the company’s stand on environmental protection, especially considering that it supported the Trump administration’s efforts to make federal emissions standards less stringent.
Granted, the $180-million fine does not seem much compared to the billions of damages Volkswagen and Daimler had to pay for their own deliberate attempt to cheat on emissions. But the situation looks unfavorable for Toyota with the Biden administration expected to impose stricter emissions requirements.
Toyota, however, said it had already addressed the issue.
“Nearly five years ago, Toyota identified and self-reported a process gap that resulted in a delay in the filing of certain non-public EPA reports for emissions-related defects in vehicles,” a spokesperson for the company told online publication Roadshow. “Within months of discovering the issue, [Toyota] submitted all relevant delayed filings and put new robust reporting and compliance processes in place.”
Moreover, Toyota insists that it has “continued to notify customers and remedy vehicles subject to any recalls, and [it] made the necessary emissions-related defect reports to our other regulators, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board.”
If anything, Toyota did not dispute the fine. “We recognize that some of our reporting protocols fell short of our own high standards, and we are pleased to have resolved this matter,” the company said.