Cummins Inc., a prominent truck engine manufacturer, is set to pay a historic $1.67 billion fine for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act by employing devices that bypassed emissions sensors on hundreds of thousands of pickup truck engines. This marks the second-largest civil environmental penalty ever imposed, highlighting the significance of the case.
Cummins installed “emissions defeat devices” on 630,000 RAM pickup trucks between 2013 and 2019 and used undisclosed emission control devices on an additional 330,000 RAMs between 2019 and 2023. These devices bypass or disable built-in sensors responsible for ensuring vehicles comply with legal pollution limits.
The most significant impact of Cummins violations is environmental. The Justice Department’s estimates point to a concerning impact, because of excess nitrogen oxide emissions. These emissions, coming from the installation of “emissions defeat devices” on over 600,000 RAM pickup trucks, pose more than just a legal issue. They raise alarms about potential health consequences, including asthma and respiratory infections, especially for those living near highways where these harmful emissions concentrate. As a consumer, this isn’t just about a fine—it’s about the air we breathe and the health of our communities.
The $1.67 billion fine facing Cummins is more than a hefty penalty; it signifies a breaking point in environmental law. This sum, the largest civil penalty ever secured by the Justice Department for environmental violations, places Cummins in the spotlight. Beyond the fine, the company is bracing for additional charges, with an estimated $2 billion coming up to settle related matters.
This isn’t just about numbers; it’s about accountability. The scale of the penalty speaks volumes about the severity of the violation and sets a bad example for holding corporations responsible for environmental misbehaviors. As a consumer, understanding these legal implications is crucial, especially if you’re wondering about the broader implications for corporate accountability in environmental matters.
Consumer Action Steps
If you own a RAM pickup truck from the affected model year, there are essential steps to take. Cummins has already previously initiated recalls for certain models, including the 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 and the 2013-2018 model years.
According to reports, 960,000 vehicles have been recalled by RAM’s parent company, Stellantis. This recall updates emission control software which Cummins had previously undergone a $59 million charge for by its parent company.
Potential Consumer Protections
This isn’t just about fixing a technical glitch; it’s about ensuring your vehicle meets the necessary emission standards. As a consumer affected by the Cummins emissions scandal, you may be eligible for compensation or participation in a class-action lawsuit. Stay informed about your rights and consider consulting with a consumer law firm to explore your options and protect your interests in light of these developments.
You may explore legal avenues to seek compensation for potential health risks or losses associated with the affected vehicles. Engaging with a consumer law firm, like Lemon Law, can guide available options and potential legal actions.
Cummins has tried to reassure consumers and explain that they have addressed many of the identified issues and collaborated with regulators for over four years. The company, however, denies any claim of wrongdoing and emphasizes its commitment to decarbonization and electric vehicle manufacturing, releasing a statement saying:
“The company has seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit wrongdoing.”
The full statement will be reviewed in court and will be released in Jan 2024. Stellantis refused to comment on the issue. Cummins has also had previous reviews by the US Regulators for the diesel engines fitted to 2016-2019 model year Nissan Titan trucks. This previous emission issue had been resolved by the development of a new software calibration and hardware fix upon recalling the affected trucks.
Previous Diesel Scandals
Cummins is not the first company to be involved in a diesel emissions scandal. After Volkswagen paid $1.45 billion in US civil fines back in 2017. This was after the German company installed defeat devices that changed emissions during testing. Volkswagen admitted to these claims in 2015 which affected 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Also, in 2022, Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s firm pleaded guilty when it was discovered they too were undergoing a diesel emissions fraud probe. Paying almost $300 million in fines, the company has been sentenced to three years of organizational probation and interestingly, is now a company owned by Stellantis.
Cummins’ record-setting fine underscores the importance of consumer rights and environmental compliance. Consumers affected by the emissions violations may have legal recourse to protect their interests and seek compensation for potential damages. Affected individuals should consult with a consumer law firm to explore available options and understand their rights in this complex legal landscape.
How Consumers Can Take Back Control
The second largest emissions scandal in recent history, Cummins as a company, has a lot to answer for. Whilst recalls have been communicated to owners of affected RAM trucks, many continue to be unhappy with the solutions provided by automakers. These problems have the potential to escalate into further legal action, just like this – underlining the importance of protecting consumer rights.
If you struggle with vehicle troubles and feel cornered against big vehicle brands, remember it is always better to have experts with you. With extensive experience and successful cases at hand, The Lemon Firm is your best bet. With the dedicated team members always at your disposal, the package becomes too good to be true. So, if your car is giving you a headache, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Call 833 Lemon Firm and speak with a case analyst today!