Investigations into Ford fuel economy and emissions processes have ended

DETROIT — The U.S. Justice Department and state of California have ended investigations into Ford’s gas mileage and emissions certification processes.

Ford says in its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that the DOJ and the California Air Resources Board told the company they don’t intend to take further action.

But the filing says probes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Canadian counterpart are continuing.

In 2018 a group of Ford employees reported possible problems with a mathematical model used to calculate pollution and mileage, prompting Ford to hire an outside firm to run tests. In 2019 Ford launched an investigation into whether it overstated gas mileage and understated emissions from a wide range of vehicles. The company disclosed the matter to the EPA and CARB.

The Justice Department later opened the criminal investigation.

Ford said in a statement Friday that the DOJ and CARB findings are “consistent with the company’s own investigation and conclusion that we appropriately completed our certification processes.”

Ford declined to releasing findings from its own investigation and said it has not changed any fuel economy ratings as a result.

Ford faces a class-action lawsuit from owners who claim Ford “cheated on its fuel economy testing on some of its best-selling and most popular trucks” and said the issue affected over a million Ford truck owners.

The lawsuit claims that “independent testing conducted on Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger vehicles has vindicated the concerns of both consumers and Ford’s own employees: Ford did not follow appropriate coastdown testing procedures, and instead disclosed inaccurate resistance figures to increase the MPG Rating of its F-150 and Ranger vehicles.” Coastdown testing measures the effects of wind and road resistance on a coasting vehicle.

The lawsuit said “extra fuel costs for all 2018 and 2019 F-150s” would total approximately $2.32 billion for city driving, $2.09 billion highway, and $1.9 billion combined.”

Ford declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday but argues in court papers it should be dismissed, saying owners are “implausibly claiming that Ford had a duty to disclose the ‘true fuel economy’ for the subject vehicles, as if such a figure actually exists.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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