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CARB announces $372 million settlement with engine manufacturer Cummins

Cummins will also pay an additional $1,642 billion federal penalty to the U.S. EPA, the largest ever for a Clean Air Act case, all involving RAM pickups

Oakland—California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced yesterday a settlement with engine manufacturer Cummins, Inc. of Indiana for using illegal defeat devices to bypass vehicle emissions control equipment in diesel engines. 

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, includes approximately $164 million in penalties paid to CARB and $33 million to the California Attorney General’s office for the company’s environmental violations and unfair business practices; and a payment of about $175 million to CARB for mitigation programs to reduce excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions caused by vehicles with Cummins engines.

In an additional settlement agreement with the U.S. government, Cummins will pay a $1,642 billion federal penalty to the U.S. EPA, the largest ever for a Clean Air Act case. The state’s share of both settlements is over $372 million.  

“Cummins installed illegal defeat devices on more than 600,000 RAM pickup trucks,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The case involves approximately 97,000 engines in California and nearly 1 million vehicles nationwide. Defeat device violations were discovered by CARB in model years 2013 to 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks with the 6.7-liter diesel engine manufactured by Cummins.

The defeat devices — software programs that alter or shut down a vehicle’s emissions control system under normal driving operation — were found using advanced testing methods and protocols developed by CARB in the wake of the 2015 Volkswagen diesel case. U.S. EPA partnered with CARB on the investigation, which revealed additional violations in 2019 to 2023 model year Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks.

A device that alters the operation of the emissions control system — known as an “auxiliary emission control device” — is permitted only under certain, specific conditions. However, it must be disclosed to regulators as part of the engine’s certification. In this case, Cummins did not disclose the existence of the auxiliary emission control devices. 

In addition, the Cummins software was a “defeat device” that changed the engine’s performance to meet rigorous emission standards during certification testing in the lab but made the emission control equipment less effective during real-world driving. Using defeat devices results in excess NOx emissions from the vehicles.

The Cummins engines involved in the case emitted smog-forming NOx in excess of the legal limit.

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