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September 24, 2015: Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Uncovered Unintentionally

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal News

The discovery of the shocking Volkswagen deceit that has been uncovered over just the last year was not the result of international intrigue or tireless investigation, but of serendipity.

In an effort to pressure European automakers to become more “environmentally-friendly”, the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit environmental group staffed by a number of former E.P.A. officials, planned to test the environmental impact of cars in the United States. Their hope was to publicize the effectiveness of the United States’ strict environmental regulations by exhibiting the comparatively low emissions of diesel vehicles in the U.S..

The International Council on Clean Transportation then contracted the researchers at West Virginia University (WVU) to conduct the study in the U.S..

The Process of Uncovering the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

Professor Arvind Thiruvengadam of West Virginia University describes his initially naive thinking in regards to the project: “No one had done that before in the U.S. […] It sounded very interesting, to test light-duty diesel vehicles in real-world conditions. We looked around at each other said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ” As far as suspicions went, “We certainly didn’t have an aim of catching a manufacturer cheating […] It didn’t even cross our minds.”

During real-world testing, Mr. Thiruvengadam’s team began to experience some strange responses from the VW vehicles. He explained that emissions can be affected by many factors, “But when you’re going at highway speed at 70 miles an hour, everything should really work properly. The emissions should come down. But the Volkswagens didn’t come down.”

Volkswagen Defeat Device Scandal

As we now know, these peculiarities were the result of the VW “defeat device” software. This technology was included with the specific internet to deceive. The device would reduce emissions of pollutants by lowering fuel efficiency and performance, but only when the car was being tested. Once this vehicle was in normal operation on the road, the defeat device would turn off the emission-reducing technology in order to regain maximum performance and fuel efficiency. Without the emission-reducing technology, these vehicles released forty times the approved amount of pollutants.

At this point, the use of “defeat device” technology in the cars was not yet apparent. The inconsistencies in the VW vehicles’ performance was baffling, but the deceit could not be uncovered since the WVU study was on-road and did not include lab testing in which they could compare the vehicles’ respective emissions. The breakthrough came once The California Air Resources Board joined the study. In their studies, the cars were lab tested to ensure that the vehicles met state emission standards. Once the emission results from the lab could be viewed next to on-road emission results, the use of the deceitful “defeat device” became obvious.

Obtain A Free Volkswagen Lawsuit Case Evaluation

Volkswagen owners bought their diesel vehicles for a combination of good gas mileage and clean emissions. These owners now face financial loss related to repairs and vehicle loss of value, as well has dealing with the stress of the vehicle recall and repair process. If you or a loved one has suffered damages related to the Volkswagen diesel vehicle recall, and you would like to learn more about your legal rights, please call The Weinberg Law Firm at 1-877-934-6274.

Volkswagen Diesel Emissions

These vehicles released into the air Nitrogen oxides, or NOx. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes this gas as a pollutant that “contributes to nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and fine particulate matter. Exposure to these pollutants has been linked with a range of serious health effects, including increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital. Exposure to ozone and particulate matter has also been associated with premature death due to respiratory-related or cardiovascular-related effects. Children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory disease are particularly at risk for health effects of these pollutants.”

Due to these health risks and environmental concerns, vehicle manufacturers are required to certify to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA). In addition, every vehicle that is sold in the United States must be covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity. Manufacturers cannot certify motor vehicles that are equipped with defeat devices. Volkswagen has violated the CAA by making and selling vehicles that produced higher levels of air emissions than were certified to EPA.

Volkswagen Models Affects By “Defeat Device” Scandal

The allegations cover roughly 482,000 diesel passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States since 2008. Affected models include:
• Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
• Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009 – 2014)
• Beetle (MY 2012 – 2015)
• Beetle Convertible (MY 2012 – 2015)
• Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2015)
• Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
• Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
• Passat (MY2012 – 2015)

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