In response to mistaken reporting this week that it was investigating U.S. market Mitsubishi cars’ fuel economy compliance, California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) said this is not correct.
“ARB cannot undertake an investigation of MPG ratings or data. We can investigate compliance with our GHG [greenhouse gas] requirements for vehicles certified to California new vehicle standards,” said John Swanton, Office of the Chairman, Communications today in response to a query by HybridCars.com. “Checking GHG compliance is something we routinely do, so we have instructed Mitsubishi to provide additional information regarding their U.S. vehicles to us, but that’s all at this point.”
Yesterday Swanton had said “ARB has no jurisdiction over MPG issues,” and “since it’s our understanding that this information only applies to a class of ‘mini’ trucks and vans not sold here, any further comment by ARB at this time would be premature.”
However another ARB official spoke yesterday to reporters, was apparently misinterpreted, and it has been published that along with the U.S. EPA, “the California Air Resources Board also announced an investigation of whether models sold in the U.S. meet fuel economy regulations.”
This is an error to include California as checking whether Mitsubishi is meeting federal fuel economy which is under the U.S. EPA’s purview, said Swanton, who maintains ARB’s concerns are not exceptional.
Swanton said the agency frequently works with automakers regarding issues pertaining to its air quality jurisdiction, and its inquiry with Mitsubishi is not at the level of a full investigation.
The types of vehicles in question in Japan are ones which would never be sold in the U.S., with 660cc engines and small in size, Swanton said.
There is no evidence at this juncture that Mitsubishi has falsified U.S. reporting to regulators, and so it is not being treated by California as though it is guilty until proven innocent.
Because others may believe Mitsubishi lied in Japan and thus is suspect in the U.S. is not how Swanton said he would frame ARB’s request of coast down info from Mitsubishi.
Today in response to news reports, Mitsubishi did issue a statement to counteract concerns that its vehicles sold in the U.S. might be suspect.
And while California is not investigating, the U.S. EPA is otherwise probing, and issued a statement saying as much.
“EPA has instructed Mitsubishi to provide additional information regarding their U.S. vehicles,” said the federal regulatory body. “The agency will also be directing the company to conduct additional coast down testing for vehicles sold in the U.S. We are coordinating with the California Air Resources Board.”
Swanton said he was unclear on the reference to coordination with the California Air Resources Board, but maintained mpg testing is not its jurisdiction. If concerns escalate and touch on state greenhouse gas rules, at that point, the ARB will have greater interest, but until then concerns are relatively minor, said Swanton.