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VW News: EPA Alleges Volkswagen Used Software on Diesel Vehicles To Skirt Clean-Air Rules

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This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation to Volkswagen for skirting clean-air rules on some of their TDI models. The EPA says certain Volkswagen and Audi diesel models from 2009 to 2015 model years had special emission control software that could detect when a car is undergoing EPA emissions testing and turns on the full emissions controls. The software would turn off the controls during real-world driving. This allowed Volkswagen not to equip urea injection and/or more complex emission-control systems onto some of their vehicles.

 

“These violations are very serious, not only because illegal defeat devices results in excess emissions many times the allowable standard, but also because VW was concealing the facts from EPA, the state of California and consumers. We expected better from VW,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in a conference call.

 

Federal officials say they were notified about the difference in emission levels after researchers at West Virginia University started questioning the emission levels on Volkwagen's diesel models. From there, the EPA and California Air Resources Board opened an investigation.

 

“In September, after EPA and CARB demanded an explanation for the identified emission problems, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices,” the EPA said in a statement.

 

The models in question include,

  • 2009 – 2015 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2009 – 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
  • 2009 – 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
  • 2009 – 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • 2014 – 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI


Now the EPA is asking Volkswagen to recall the affected vehicles, though they do note that the vehicles are safe to drive. The EPA hasn't ordered any fines at this time, as the investigation is still ongoing. Federal law allows the EPA to levy a maximum fine of $37,500 per vehicle. With around 482,000 vehicles with the illegal software, Volkswagen could be looking at a maximum fine of $18 billion dollars.

 


"VW is cooperating with the investigation; we are unable to comment further at this time," the company said in a statement.

 

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Green Car Reports, EPA

 

Press Release is on Page 2


 

EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations

 

Release Date: 09/18/2015
Contact Information: press@epa.gov

  • Carmaker allegedly used software that circumvents emissions testing for certain air pollutants


Washington - Today, EPA is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions.

 


“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

 

“Working with US EPA we are taking this important step to protect public health thanks to the dogged investigations by our laboratory scientists and staff,” said Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action.”

 

As described in the NOV, a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. The effectiveness of these vehicles’ pollution emissions control devices is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard. The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act.

 

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution, and every vehicle sold in the U.S. must be covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity. Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices, which reduce the effectiveness of the emission control system during normal driving conditions, cannot be certified. By making and selling vehicles with defeat devices that allowed for higher levels of air emissions than were certified to EPA, Volkswagen violated two important provisions of the Clean Air Act.

 

EPA and CARB uncovered the defeat device software after independent analysis by researchers at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, a non-governmental organization, raised questions about emissions levels, and the agencies began further investigations into the issue. In September, after EPA and CARB demanded an explanation for the identified emission problems, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices.

 

NOx pollution 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 have 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.

 

VW may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged in the NOV.

 

The allegations cover roughly 482,000 diesel passenger cars sold in the United States since 2008.

 

Affected diesel models include:

  • Jetta (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
  • Beetle (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
  • Audi A3 (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
  • Golf (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
  • Passat (Model Years 2014-2015)


It is incumbent upon Volkswagen to initiate the process that will fix the cars’ emissions systems. Car owners should know that although these vehicles have emissions exceeding standards, these violations do not present a safety hazard and the cars remain legal to drive and resell. Owners of cars of these models and years do not need to take any action at this time.


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Yeah I just read this a little earlier..

 

I have to admit, it was a good idea. But to even remotely think you could go on without getting caught is absolutely insane. Whether it be somebody spill the beans or an audit, or any of the MANY other ways to get busted. ..but the idea is still a good one.. It just seems more like an aftermarket thing NOT AN OEM ONE.

 

Also, makes sense why they've had so many diesels over here for so long. They were keeping costs down. lol

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Wow!   I wonder what the car does differently to pass the test that it can't do while driving normally. 

 

I'm wondering that as well.

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I posted this elsehwere:

 

What I'm curious about: In what way does the engine perform differently when it is in "Fool-EPA" mode that would change the performance to the end user? Does the fuel economy go down? Is there less power? Does NVH increase? Can this potentially change the performance of the engine enough to spark lawsuits after drivers get their vehicle reflashed? VW didn't do this just to spite the EPA, therefore what negative attribute is this tuning hiding?

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I spent a lot of time on the cruzetalk forums a couple weeks back reading diesel topics.  There are some issues with the Cruze diesel and the DEF tank, so a lot of people were commenting why does the Cruze diesel have a DEF tank and the Vdubs don't yada, etc.

 

Well, here ya go..........

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Surprising it took this long for a University to question why everyone else has to use DEF tanks and VW did not. This should have raised red flags years ago.

 

Like Drew and Mud, I do wonder what they are hiding with this programming.

 

Interesting is that Europe noticed and finished their research to find that VW Diesels have been on average spewing out 7 times higher emissions than the Euro 6 standards allow.

 

Europe report is found here:

 

http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/ICCT_PEMS-study_diesel-cars_20141010.pdf

 

The report and I could totally be misunderstanding, but they say on average all the diesels in Europe put out 40% more emissions than expected for Euro6 standards and that either car companies like VW went with defeat software or too little DEF to control it. If they used the proper amount of DEF to meat the spec, the HP / Torque numbers would be noticeably reduced as would MPG.

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So it would seem that VW was wanting to show the best HP / Torque / MPG on the market but they would have fallen short if they had used DEF. Seems like this came down to how much could they skirt the law to give Executives better bonuses while not really following the law.

 

I hope both Europe and the US fine VW heavily for this 3 Billion plus would do it for the damage done.

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here is the sad thing.  the regulators -cough- have become so obsessive with punishing the auto industry to continually force less emmissions and higher mpg.  The regulators have created an environment that encourages cheating and is not centered upon what drivers want. would you really have 1.5 litre malibus if the regulations werent so harsh?

 

in the us with cheaper gas again, you see sales in the compact and sub compact segment going down again.  

 

Europe has always been centered on diesel, yes it needs to be cleaned up but like I said when you become totalitarian in your enforcement you create the need to cheat.

 

Governments should back off for awhile on emissions and back off on mpg.

 

Is the Astra 1.6 euro diesel compliant?

 

the bad press from this fallout could kill the US diesel market and the next cruze diesel if this gets out of hand.

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Well, there's one thing about the regulatory environment for automakers; but it is another to suggest that consumers do not want high fuel economy.

 

Plenty of research into this has shown that consumers place fuel economy consistently among the top 3 factors that they take into consideration when buying a vehicle.

 

Even though gas prices have retreated from their high prices; consumers pick the most efficient options usually. Think of it this way. With the advancements in efficiency over the last decade; consumers can achieve almost the same if not better efficiency with a new vehicle that is significantly larger than their current vehicle being replaces.

 

Some midsize sedans used to be rated at high teens city and low-mid 20s hwy (i.e. 18/25) mpgs with their 4 cylinder base engines not too long ago. Now there's Muranos, Edges and the ilk getting better gas mileage and providing so much more utility. So if a person trades in their replaces their 11 or 12 year old vehicle (avg. age of the U.S. and Canadian auto fleet is around that), they are getting a larger vehicle that returns better efficiency.

 

That's why we are seeing a resurgence in truck and true SUV sales; and crossovers will continue to rise. 

 

What VW did here was NOT caused by a very restrictive and punitive regulatory environment. They plain cheated the system. It's too bad, because as this story gets bigger; the media will definitely overblow the already bad effects of NOx emmissions. 

 

But this is a good opportunity for others like FCA and GM to push within their marketing how their engines are compliant. (I'm assuming they are compliant as well).

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here is the sad thing.  the regulators -cough- have become so obsessive with punishing the auto industry to continually force less emmissions and higher mpg.  The regulators have created an environment that encourages cheating and is not centered upon what drivers want. would you really have 1.5 litre malibus if the regulations werent so harsh?

 

in the us with cheaper gas again, you see sales in the compact and sub compact segment going down again.  

 

Europe has always been centered on diesel, yes it needs to be cleaned up but like I said when you become totalitarian in your enforcement you create the need to cheat.

 

Governments should back off for awhile on emissions and back off on mpg.

 

Is the Astra 1.6 euro diesel compliant?

 

the bad press from this fallout could kill the US diesel market and the next cruze diesel if this gets out of hand.

 

 

here ya go, this VW thing will be the catalyst (no pun intended) for the tyrants (aka governments) to start to rid the world of diesel

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3233253/Diesel-drivers-face-12-50-fee-enter-cities-motorists-told-ditch-petrol-cars-green-fuel.html

 

i wonder if GM and Chevy do an about face on an available diesel for the new Cruze here now, after this,

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here is the sad thing.  the regulators -cough- have become so obsessive with punishing the auto industry to continually force less emmissions and higher mpg.  The regulators have created an environment that encourages cheating and is not centered upon what drivers want. would you really have 1.5 litre malibus if the regulations werent so harsh?

 

in the us with cheaper gas again, you see sales in the compact and sub compact segment going down again.  

 

Europe has always been centered on diesel, yes it needs to be cleaned up but like I said when you become totalitarian in your enforcement you create the need to cheat.

 

Governments should back off for awhile on emissions and back off on mpg.

 

Is the Astra 1.6 euro diesel compliant?

 

the bad press from this fallout could kill the US diesel market and the next cruze diesel if this gets out of hand.

 

 

here ya go, this VW thing will be the catalyst (no pun intended) for the tyrants (aka governments) to start to rid the world of diesel

 

http://www.dailymail...green-fuel.html

 

i wonder if GM and Chevy do an about face on an available diesel for the new Cruze here now, after this,

 

Sure they can....they could easily play cut throat advertising and just say their Cruze Diesel does NOT cheat the system and its clean...unlike VW's TDi "clean" diesel..

 

They could say...EPA tested and approved and NOT circumvented...

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I suppose you are right...

 

Im just quite peeved at this...I want blood!

I want somebody to poke at VW...I dont care who it might be!

 

Top Gear had the right idea...

 

Die Volkswagen Die!

 

 

And no...not in German for THE Volkswagen THE

 

I REALLY mean DIE Volkswagen DIE!!!

 

In GERMAN...courtesy of Google Translate:

STERBEN Volkswagen STERBEN

Edited by oldshurst442
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from my understanding, using def does nothing to HP. it does add weight and complexity though.

-this is my limited knowledge i have through my work related learning.

you can either use DEF, or use EGR.... DEF is to keep the maintenance schedule about the same, while EGR can drastically reduce the life of the internals, at least talking about large medium speeds and medium high speeds - loco engines.

 

I would love to see Mazda's skyactive D in comparison, since it is supposed to meet all emissione with just the catalytic converter and DPF.

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I thought they were having a lot of trouble with reliability and emissions on the Skyactive-D and that is why it isn't here yet. 

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I thought they were having a lot of trouble with reliability and emissions on the Skyactive-D and that is why it isn't here yet. 

 

It was emissions and getting better performance out of the engine. 

Although I'm wondering if Mazda has given up on it since we haven't heard anything since December.

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I thought they were having a lot of trouble with reliability and emissions on the Skyactive-D and that is why it isn't here yet. 

 

It was emissions and getting better performance out of the engine. 

Although I'm wondering if Mazda has given up on it since we haven't heard anything since December.

 

Drew, i did hear something like that.... oil issues?

 

William, probably something like that. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1096944_mazda-diesel-still-on-tap-but-performance-must-be-suitable-exec-says

but only stating about the performance, but that does relate to emissions.

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I see you burnt valve LS7...

 

You see...I see a small trace of where you have been last...continue your childish ways...downvote like a moron...

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