EcoDiesel Fraud Compensation Claims
Stern Law, PLLC, is representing individuals who have purchased a 2014, 2015, or 2016 model year Dodge Ram 1500 or Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engine. If you purchased one of these vehicles with a the optional 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, you may be entitled to receive money back due to your financial losses.
You may be entitled to monetary compensation due to:
- Fraud or misrepresentations made by the manufacturer.
- Loss in “Resale value”.
- The premium paid by you to include the “EcoDiesel technology” as an add-on option.
- Health related injury or exposure to toxic levels of pollutants that should have been controlled by the EcoDiesel technology.
- Losses due to the “actual” Miles Per Gallon versus the “stated” Miles Per Gallon.
Clean diesel-equipped vehicles manufactured by Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) may not be as “clean” as once thought, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has recently accused FCA of producing “clean diesel” vehicles containing software inhibiting the ability of the vehicle’s emissions control systems to reduce harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. This software allegedly makes FCA’s vehicles equipped with clean diesel engines release emit excess levels of nitrogen oxide. Thus far, though, Fiat Chrysler has denied any wrongdoing.
Diesel Engine Benefits and Drawbacks
Diesel engines have several advantages over gasoline engines. Some of the benefits that diesel engines (in general) possess include:
- Diesel engines are more fuel efficient, allowing vehicles to drive for greater distances on less fuel than a vehicle equipped with a gasoline engine;
- Diesel engines are known for their longevity. In fact, a few diesel-equipped vehicles produced by automaker Mercedes-Benz have reportedly logged over 900,000 miles;
- Diesel engines can give a vehicle more power than a gasoline engine. In fact, in some situations, a vehicle equipped with a diesel engine can tow a vehicle of a similar size and weight while still delivering better fuel performance than the vehicle with a gasoline engine.
Nonetheless, these benefits come at a cost. Most notably, diesel engines can emit greater amounts of pollutants, including nitrogen oxides such as nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen oxides can contaminate the air, and exposure to these pollutants can lead to the development of serious respiratory and/or cardiovascular health complications.
In recent years, the passage of environmental rules and regulations at the state and federal level meant that automakers who wished to offer consumers vehicles equipped with diesel engines would need to find a way to limit the amount of pollutants and nitrogen oxides emitted by the vehicles.
Clean Diesel Technology and Fiat Chrysler
Beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2015, FCA and other automakers began testing, marketing, and delivering “clean diesel” vehicles. In certain FCA cars, trucks, and SUVs, the engine was known as an EcoDiesel engine. FCA used EcoDiesel engines in its Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models between 2014 and 2016. In selling these EcoDiesel vehicles to consumers, FCA claimed that the engine was compliant with state and federal regulations limiting the emission of nitrogen oxides and was therefore more environmentally-friendly than other traditional diesel engines. Consumers would pay a price for EcoDiesel vehicles – the addition of the EcoDiesel technology could increase the sales price of the vehicle by up to $5,000 in some cases.
Evidence Emerges That Clean Diesels May Not Be So Clean
Beginning in 2015, the EPA began investigations into automakers selling clean diesel-equipped vehicles. More specifically, the EPA gained information that Volkswagen was utilizing so-called “defeat devices” to make it appear that its clean diesel vehicles were passing rigorous emission tests when in fact the vehicles would emit far more than toxins and pollutants than regulations permitted when the vehicles were driven under normal circumstances and conditions. At the conclusion of its investigation, Volkswagen accepted responsibility for not only utilizing defeat devices and selling diesel vehicles that were not “clean,” but also for covering up documents that revealed this information. Volkswagen recently agreed to pay over four billion dollars in civil and criminal penalties and has agreed to cooperate in the investigation of several high-level executives involved in the scandal.
The Volkswagen investigation was the start, rather than the end, of the matter. Soon additional evidence would emerge suggesting that Volkswagen’s actions were common practice in the industry, and that millions of vehicles equipped with “clean diesel” engines may be emitting unacceptable levels of pollutants. Fiat Chrysler is one automaker whose vehicles have come under scrutiny recently. It is alleged that software installed in EcoDiesel-equipped vehicles allows excess pollutants to be emitted by the vehicles. In other words, even though consumers are paying a premium for the EcoDiesel technology, they are not receiving any benefit from their investment.
Help for Aggrieved Consumers
If the allegations against FCA are true, then like Volkswagen FCA may face millions (or billions) of dollars in fines and penalties and may face criminal charges relating to any deceptive practices in which the automaker engaged. Consumers who purchased these vehicles may also be entitled to recover compensation designed to address the extra premium they paid for the EcoDiesel technology as well as for any additional harm they may have suffered, including harm related to exposure to toxic levels of pollutants that ought to have been controlled by the EcoDiesel technology.
The investigation into Fiat Chrysler is just beginning, and thus far the automaker has denied any wrongdoing and claims its EcoDiesel technology functions as described. Further developments in the case will dictate whether FCA will face any repercussions for its actions and whether consumers who purchased a 2014, 2015, or 2016 model year Dodge Ram 1500 or Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engine can recover any type of compensation.