Toyota just paid the largest fine ever for violating the Clean Air Act

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A fine is nothing but a cost of doing business. Cars will only comply with emissions mandates if it’s cheaper to implement cleaner exhaust systems than it is to pay the fines.

Criminal penalties, with corporate board members and C-suite execs going to prison for violations committed by their corporations; now that’s an actual deterrent. Since decisions like Citizens United have given corporations “person” status in the eyes of the law, there’s no legal reason not to treat them like citizens.


Toyota’s listed 2020 revenue is $275 billion1, making this “largest fine ever” only 0.07% of this year’s revenue and 0.8% of annual income. At least one more zero has to be added to the fine to really force changes (or making this sized fine a semi-annual event)


So, what did Volkswagen get fined for? That was in the billions, at least initially.


“But at least it’s something” is precisely the thinking of most of the upper echelon of Washington apparatchiks who believe it’s simply impossible to truly hold these companies accountable for their behavior. This is the Democratic Party’s approach to environmental regulation, and it’s why we are so fucked.

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That turns out to be really complicated. Or not, I suppose. Strictly speaking VW doesn’t seem to have been fined in the US as such. They were threatened with huge fines and eventually settled for a lot more than this figure but weren’t strictly speaking fined under the Clean Air Act or at all as far as I can tell.

ETA: Turns out I’m wrong. VW pleaded guilty to a bunch of charges and a fine of $2.8 billion, on top of all the settlements of course.


Ahh, the old settlement loophole. Just pay some money to get the whole thing dropped and it’s like a crime was never committed!


Looking into it again, it turns out they did plead guilty to at least one set of charges and a criminal fine of $2.8 billion and civil penalties of $1.5 billion.

There’s also $2.8 billion for ‘environmental mitigation’ measures which is a bit ironic given the Trumpist administration’s actions re the environment but hey ho.

And $2 billion for ‘clean emissions’ infrastructure. Which VW apparently complied with by setting up a subsidiary which promotes and builds electric vehicle charging stations.

Which no doubt had nothing to do with their decision to go into electric vehicles in a big way.


How does one “systematically fail to report defects?” Come on, NYT, they covered that shit up.


Its not as if all those excess emissions harmed any citizens. Only consumers were hurt by the fumes, who are free to not buy Toyota cars in the future!


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I thought there was an individual, some sort of middling manager, at VW who actually went to jail over this. It was probably in Germany, because in the USA, that just don’t happen.

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Yes, there are/were various other criminal proceedings and a whole bunch more fines and settlements in other countries as well.

I believe the former CEO, Winterkorn, is still under indictment along with several more senior managers, including the former Audi boss.

The wheels of justice are still grinding away.


Well judging by Trump’s latest and hopefully last pardon list, it appears it does to some extent. Plenty of convicted CEOs there. Shame about the pardons but they did get convicted to actual jail time.

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That’s a simplistic response.

So, any recalls, repairs, retrofits?

It’s very serious and complicated, and Biden’s fault

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