In an “interesting” move, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has postponed a congressionally mandated increase in fines for auto manufacturers not in compliance with fuel economy standards until the 2019 model year.
Previous to this decision, the fine increase was slated to go into effect for the 2015 model year (retroactively) and every year following.
This increase had been set to be a pretty substantial one — from $5.50 for each one-tenth of a mile per gallon (MPG) off of the fuel economy requirement for the year in question up to $14 for each one-tenth of a MPG off of the fuel economy requirement. This figure would then be multiplied by the fleet numbers for the model year and manufacturer.
Detroit News provides more: “NHTSA said Wednesday that is postponing the implementation of the mpg fine increase until the 2019 model year at the request of groups that lobby for automakers in Washington. NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas said in an email that agency has determined that automakers had largely completed compliance plans and vehicle design decisions for vehicles to be produced through model year 2018 before July 5, 2016, the date NHTSA issued its interim final rule proposing the timing of the increase in penalties.”
Thomas stated: “Therefore increasing penalties for non-compliance before model year 2019 vehicles likely would not result in increased compliance or improved fuel economy.”
As a reminder, the current fuel economy standards mandate that a manufacturer’s fleet-wide average fuel economy be more than 35 miles per gallon for 2017 model years. The 2018 model year mandate is a fleet-wide average of over 36 miles per gallon, the 2019 model year mandate is over 37 miles per gallon, and the 2020 mandate is around 39 miles per gallon.
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