Fiat Chrysler paid $77 million in U.S. fuel economy penalties in 2018

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said on Thursday it paid $77 million in U.S. civil penalties late last year for failing to meet 2016 model year fuel economy requirements, the first significant sign the industry is facing hurdles meeting rising emissions rules.

The Italian-American automaker has been lobbying the Trump administration to revise fuel economy requirements, and last year regulators proposed freezing requirements at 2020 model-year levels through 2026.

Shane Karr, head of external affairs for Fiat Chrysler in North America, said in a statement the fuel economy program should be reformed rather than “requiring companies to make large compliance payments because assumptions made in 2011 turned out to be wrong.”

Karr added that the automaker is “committed to improving the fuel efficiency of our fleet and expanding our U.S. manufacturing footprint.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a report dated Dec. 21 that the industry faced $77 million in fines in 2016 and that one unnamed manufacturer “is expected to pay significant civil penalties.” The agency did not immediately comment on Thursday.