It seems like just about everybody is at least a little irked by the recent revelations that Volkswagen used lines of code as a defeat device to make it seem as if its clean diesel engines were cleaner than they really were.
But there are a few people who are especially mad.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was the one to publicly sound the alarm on Sept. 18 about Volkswagen's clean diesel engines not being as clean as everyone thought. But according to Bloomsburg Business, the International Council on Clean Transportation partnered with West Virginia University's Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions to conduct the damning tests. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also conducted tests. It took threatening to withhold certification of 2016 VW diesels by the EPA before VW admitted to its ruse.
Green Car Buyers
Nearly half a million car buyers between 2009 and 2015 (482,000 cars in the United States) chose to pay about $3,000 more for clean diesel models than gasoline versions of the same car. These people are now mad enough to join a class-action lawsuit against VW in addition to enjoying the schadenfreude of former VW head Martin Winterkorn facing criminal charges.
Volkswagen has taken some of the heat off dealers by asking them to refer customers to a website and a recorded FAQ for owners of affected diesel vehicles. The deadline for a fix in Germany is Oct. 7, but it'll only work for 5 million of the 11 million cars with the "defeat device" code — and none of them are in the United States, according to the Los Angeles Times. U.S. emissions restrictions are more rigorous than other countries' regulations, so U.S. cars will require a different solution.
Groups like the Diesel Technology Forum and the U.S. Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars have been working with the EPA, CARB and other regulatory agencies to improve diesel's environmental profile and market diesel engines' efficiency. Having a diesel-powered juggernaut like Volkswagen resort to cheating to achieve those performance and environmental benchmarks sets their cause way, way back in the public's mind.
Diesel is far more common in Europe, which is why we keep hearing that there are 11 million total Volkswagen vehicles affected. About 40 percent of those 10.5 million cars are in Europe, and they've got the same lines of code cheating the emissions testing process.