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A 2016 Dodge Ram 1500, one of the vehicles allegedly involved. Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler will pay more than $500 million in a settlement announced Thursday with the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that it installed software on some diesel vehicles that produced lower emissions results.

Why it matters, via Axios' Amy Harder: Following a much larger scandal at Volkswagen in 2015 that resulted in billions in fines for the German automaker, it's a reminder that vehicles' efficiency shouldn't be taken for granted. Politically, the settlement highlights a sense of continuity between the Obama and Trump administrations' enforcement actions in this area.

The big picture: The settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing from the automaker or a reprimand from the EPA. As the New York Times notes, the U.S. government's investigation found Fiat Chrysler's actions "much less serious" than the Volkswagen scandal.

  • Fiat Chrysler will have to pay $305 million in civil penalties as well as dole out compensation to affected owners that could cost up to $185 million — and recall affected vehicles in order to reinstall their software. The automaker is also on the hook for a bevy of smaller civil penalties surrounding environmental and import issues.

Go deeper: 9 states team up to reduce transportation CO2 emissions

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.