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September 18, 2015: Volkswagen Receives Notice Of Violation – Alleged Failure To Comply With Clean Air Act

VW Notice of Violation – On September 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America (collectively, Volkswagen) for the failure to comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401-7672, and its implementing regulations. The EPA’s Notice of Violation alleges that certain four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 are equipped with software known as “defeat devices,” that enable the vehicles’ ability to circumvent EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The use of a defeat device is a violation of the CAA. In addition, California has separately issued an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen. The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are both investigating Volkswagen’s alleged actions.

Defeat Devices Can Bypass Vehicle Emissions Control Systems

By equipping certain vehicles with these defeat devices, which bypass, defeat, or render inoperative elements of the vehicles’ emission control system that exist to comply with the CAA, Volkswagen has violated section 203(a)(3)(B) of the Act. The defeat device in this instance is a software algorithm that is able to detect when the vehicle is undergoing official emissions testing, and triggers full emissions controls. However, in normal driving conditions, the vehicles’ pollution control system is significantly reduced. As a result, vehicles meet emissions standards when tested in laboratories or testing stations, but emit nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the standards permitted by the EPA during normal operation.

Manufacturers Are Required To Certify That Their Vehicles Meet Emission Standards

Vehicle manufacturers are also required to certify to EPA that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards pursuant to the 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 Reportedly Admits To Installing Defeat Devices

EPA and CARB learned of the defeat device software as a result of independent analysis that was conducted by researchers at West Virginia University, who were working in conjunction with the International Council on Clean Transportation. After researches raised questions with respect to emissions levels, EPA and CARB undertook further investigations. Finally, in September 2015, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices after EPA and CARB demanded answers.

Nitrogen oxides, or NOx is 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.”

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)

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.

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