Toyota’s $180 Million Emissions Fine Is Nothing Compared to These Violators

Toyota probably has one of the better reputations in the car industry as it’s the maker of some of the most reliable cars on the market. But of course, nobody’s perfect, and Toyota recently added another black mark onto its record. Here’s a look at Toyota’s recent massive fine as well as the bigger fines that other automakers got.

Toyota agrees to pay a $180 million emissions fine

While Toyota also has a reputation of being an automaker that takes climate change more seriously than others, recently, according to Car and Driver, Toyota settled a lawsuit with the U.S. government over an emissions reporting issue. While that sounds like a terrible thing, like Toyota said, according to Car and Driver, this issue probably resulted in “negligible emissions impacts, if any.”

That’s because Toyota violated a small part of the Clean Air Act, a law that was passed decades ago that allowed the government to regulate emissions from things like vehicles. Car and Driver said that the Clean Air Act had a protocol that required automakers to report to the EPA about issues with “some cars’ tailpipe emission regulation systems” in a timely manner. 

From 2005 to 2015, Toyota, according to Car and Driver, failed to report those issues to the EPA in a timely manner. On top of that, the government alleged that Toyota’s management was well-aware of this timely reporting issue. However, a spokesperson said, according to Car and Driver, that Toyota “alerted the government as soon as it became aware of problems.” 

Regardless, Toyota chose to not dispute the fine, which was a staggering $180 million. This fine was also the largest civil penalty for violating the emissions reporting protocols set forth by the Clean Air Act, according to Car and Driver. That being said, while this was a record-breaking fine, other companies have Toyota beat. 

Daimler was fined billions more than Toyota

As Car and Driver wrote, Daimler, which is the company that owns Mercedes-Benz, was fined billions for cheating emissions tests. This was a recent scandal, and it’s still currently being investigated. So far, the fine is in the territory of $3 billion. So, yeah, much bigger than the $180 million Toyota fine.

On top of that, since this was so recent, there’s also not too much information about what exactly happened. What is known, however, is that roughly 250,000 vehicles were affected by this scheme, and additionally, Daimler was investigated and sued by multiple emissions-related groups.

However, another thing that is known about Daimler’s scheme was that it was probably discovered thanks to an even bigger and more notorious scheme, Dieselgate.

Volkswagen’s nearly $15 billion fine from Dieselgate

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In 2015, the world became aware of Dieselgate, which was another emissions cheating scheme where VW made its cars seem more environmentally friendly than they really were. This was a global scandal that affected millions of cars worldwide, and as a result, the EPA as well as other similar agencies gave VW some massive fines. 

Car and Driver said that VW in 2016 was fined $14.7 billion for its role in Dieselgate, and obviously, VW’s reputation has barely started to recover since then. While VW and Daimler may want to welcome Toyota into its club of automakers who’ve been given massive fines for emissions issues, it’s clear that Toyota’s violations were very different.

Dieselgate, as well as Daimler’s emissions cheating scandal, both involved automakers deceiving their customers in regard to how environmentally friendly their diesel cars were. On the other hand, Toyota’s recent issue had to do with Toyota not reporting its emissions problem as quickly as the Clean Air Act said it needed to report them. As such, the Toyota fine wasn’t that big since its violation, while serious, was probably not very impactful.