The US Justice Department has handed Cummins a US$1.675bn penalty for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act.

According to hemmings.com, the company reportedly agreed to pay the penalty to settle claims by regulators, which state that thousands of pickup truck engines were unlawfully altered to bypass emissions tests.

The agreement was announced on 21 December, 2023. To date, the fine is the largest civil penalty the Justice Department has issued under the Clean Air Act. Once paid, it will be the second largest environmental penalty ever secured.

According to the Justice Department, Cummins allegedly installed emissions defeat devices on 630,000 2013-2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines, plus undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices on 330,000 2019-2023 Ram 2500 and 3500 truck engines.

The penalty agreement, in the words of Attorney General Merrick Garland, resolves the allegations stating the “company unlawfully altered hundreds of thousands of engines to bypass emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act.”

He added, “The types of devices we allege that Cummins installed in its engines to cheat federal environmental laws have a significant and harmful impact on people’s health and safety. Our preliminary estimates suggest that defeat devices on some Cummins engines have caused them to produce thousands of tons of excess emissions of nitrogen oxides.”

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By GlobalData

EPA administrator Michael Regan said: “Vulnerable communities are more likely to reside near highways where these harmful emissions are concentrated, making this agreement critical to advancing our environmental justice agenda.”

As Cummins reaches an agreement to resolve regulatory claims on its emissions certification and compliance on 1m engines, the company said it expected to get hit with a nearly $2.04 billion charge in the fourth quarter.

“The company has seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit wrongdoing,” a Cummins representative said in a statement cited by Hemmings.