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EPA: Fiat Chrysler cheated on diesel emissions

DETROIT — Environmental regulators accused automaker Fiat Chrysler of installing software on 100,000 diesel-powered cars and trucks in order to cheat emissions tests.

The accusation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board is similar to the scandal that has plagued automaker Volkswagen for more than a year.

Just this week, Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle charges it cheated on diesel emissions tests with more than 590,000 diesel-powered U.S. cars. The Justice Department also indicted six executives of Volkswagen on Wednesday.

“This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA. “When companies break the law, Americans depend on the EPA to step in and enforce.”

“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” said CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

The vehicles cited include 2014, 2015 and 2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees SUVs and and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3-liter diesel engines.

Fiat Chrysler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its shares were down 18 percent.