U.S. regulators are giving automakers an extra merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is delaying a big hike in fuel economy fines that would have impacted cars starting from the 2015 model year forward. Now they won’t kick into effect until starting with the 2019 model year.
The fines would have more than doubled current ones for automaker’s who failed to meet fuel emissions guidelines as outlined by the government’s 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy Plan. But after hearing trade industry concern about the financial impact, and that the automakers can’t keep up with the requirements, NHTSA announced it would hold off.
The current fine is tallied by charging $5.50 for every tenth mpg over the required standards. Multiply the amount by each car sold that year and it adds to millions of dollars each year. The new fine would have boosted fines from $5.50 to $14. For example, in 2013, Land Rover paid a $14,110,470 fine. The now-delayed bump would have pushed its fines to $35,917,560.
As we said on the Car Pro Show a few weeks ago, automakers have done all the easiest and least expensive things to increase miles per gallon. It only gets tougher, and more expensive, from this point on.