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Expect Enviros To Lose Their Minds After US Automakers Bet Big On Diesel Trucks

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Automakers are unveiling a host of new diesel-powered vehicles, even as environmentalists and regulators crusade against Volkswagen and others following a spat of diesel emission scandals.

Ford is offering a diesel engine version of its long-standing staple, the F-150 pickup truck, that is expected to achieve more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Ford’s move will likely land with a thud among government regulators campaigning to end diesel-powered vehicles.

General Motors (GM) is also pushing a new diesel vehicle. The company is offering a diesel 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, executives said at a press conference at this year’s auto show — the Silverado joins the company’s other diesel vehicles, the Equinox, Colorado, and Cruze.

Volkswagen’s diesel emission scandal has roiled the industry, but GM executives believe the scandal is Volkswagen’s problem.

“We know how to do it, we know how to do it very well. There’s big value there but you’ve got to get it right,” GM product chief Mark Reuss told reporters at an auto show event Saturday in Detroit.

Headwinds from the scandal might be receding. The German automaker, for its part, pleaded guilty in March to placing cheat devices on more than 500,000 vehicles. Volkswagen was sentenced to three years of probation and forced to pay billions of dollars in penalties.

The Environmental Protection Agency believes Fiat Chrysler  also took a page out of Volkswagen’s book.

Analysts estimate that Fiat Chrysler will have to pony up around $800 million at most if the government can prove the company knowingly used so-called cheat devices to downplay emission levels. Fiat continues to deny allegations they used software to cheat emission rules. Authorities must prove the company purposely administered the devices.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Fiat Chrysler of illegally using the software on 104,000 diesel-powered vehicles sold since 2014, which it said led to higher than allowable levels of nitrogen oxide.

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