TodayApril 15, 2022

Flagship fined in California emission scandal

Ford F-150 superchargers

The California Air Resources Board has reached a settlement of $250,000 with Flagship, a Ford Authorized Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer, to resolve clean air violations related to the sale of modified vehicles in California.

It reminds me of when Volkswagen got dinged for dieselgate. Mary Nicols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said, “They are not the first, and they won’t be the last.” She was right about that. 

“Our tough air quality laws exist to protect public health,” said Executive Officer Richard Corey. “We commend Flagship for cooperating and for their willingness to educate themselves and dealers and make the necessary changes.”

It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp – Vehicles sold new in California must be certified to meet California emissions standards. Yet, car companies still can’t figure out that CARB is watching and willing to fine them for these transgressions. 

Modifications to a vehicle’s emissions equipment prior to the sale alters the original certification. CARB found as a result of regular field inspections at dealerships and through further investigation that Flagship advertised, sold, and offered for sale, 2016-2017 model year Ford-150 vehicles that were modified with enhanced configuration accessories and aftermarket parts, specifically superchargers, before sale to the consumer.

To resolve these violations, Flagship has agreed to take corrective action and to develop compliant processes. It will also pay a settlement of $250,000, with $125,000 going to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research.

The remainder will be split between two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPS). Ecosystems Exhibition Wing – Community Teen Program, a paid internship program that integrates science education with paid work experience and college readiness instruction for community youths, will receive $108,000 to help spread information about life sciences and current research projects. 

The remaining $17,000 will be paid to Fresno TREES (Tree planting along Roads to help Eliminate pollution Exposure and Sequester carbon). These funds will be used to address high-priority environmental issues in Fresno, one of the state’s most important environmental justice regions that is heavily impacted, as most are, by pollution. Fresno TREES is a multiyear project aimed at evaluating how well vegetative barriers such as trees and shrubs protect people from exposure to air pollution downwind from major highways.

Violations of California’s emissions requirements pose a significant health threat to California residents. They can lead to higher amounts of air pollution, which can exacerbate respiratory ailments and negatively affect other health conditions.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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