$79M Fine Shows Why Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Can't Come Soon Enough

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FCA falls short of fuel economy requirements yet again.

Just a couple of days after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) were found to have reported inflated vehicle sales figures, the automaker is once again in a touch of bother. This time, according to Reuters, the brand was found to have fallen short of 2017 requirements for fuel economy. Overall, several manufacturers are battling to meet the latest US emissions standards.

Last year, the automaker received a $77.3 million penalty for not meeting 2016 model year fuel economy standards. The latest fine, for the 2017 model year, has jumped to $79.4 million. This increase highlights that a greater percentage of auto brands in the US are unable to comply with the latest efficiency regulations.

2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Rear Angle View Jeep
2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Rear Angle View Jeep
2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Front Angle View Jeep

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 12 of 20 manufacturers fell short in the 2016 model year, worsening to 13 of 18 for the 2017 model year. In 2017, the overall fleet could only achieve 32.3 mpg, not meeting the 33.8 mpg requirement.

An FCA spokesperson has stated that the latest penalty will not have a material effect on the company's business while citing the automaker's imminent plans for a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Wrangler as part of their commitment to lower overall consumption figures. In fact, FCA's bold plans for hybrid and electric vehicle development is set to balloon to $10 billion for over 30 vehicles over the next two years.

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These hybrids and EVs should go some way towards atoning for vehicles within the brand's stable which are holding it back from its efficiency goals, among them Jeep SUVs and gas-guzzling Dodge sports cars. Without the benefit of more fuel-efficient small and midsize sedans in its range - which have typically failed to make an impact on the sales charts - the automaker has its work cut out.

An even bigger battle is at play, however, with the Trump administration advocating for a freeze on vehicle emissions standards through 2026, a move that has been heavily criticized by various environmental groups. Either way, automakers will undoubtedly remain under serious pressure to deliver increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles.

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