Consumer Reports yanks VW recommendations

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Did Volkswagen cheat?.

If the accusations against Volkswagen hold up, Americans should be outraged at the company’s cynical and deliberate efforts to violate one of this country’s most important environmental laws.Volkswagen has been cheating federal emission standards since 2008, spewing as much as 40 times more pollution than allowed by equipping its cars with a “defeat device” that fools the official test, the Obama administration said on Friday.

GERMAN CARMAKER Volkswagen has been ordered by United States regulators to recall half a million cars because of a device that disguises pollution levels.New York: US regulators charged Volkswagen on Friday with manufacturing vehicles designed to evade government pollution controls and said the German auto giant should urgently fix nearly 500,000 cars.WASHINGTON: The US Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that Volkswagen intentionally skirted clean-air laws by using a piece of software that enabled about 500,000 of its diesel cars to emit fewer smog-causing pollutants during testing than in real-world driving conditions. According to the EPA’s description, VW’s actions were willful, and as a result these cars — from the 2009-15 model years — can each generate up to 40 times the maximum allowed emissions of nitrogen oxides, gases linked to smog and climate change. The origin of the case was a report last year by the International Council for Clean Transportation and West Virginia University that documented elevated emissions from some Volkswagen cars.

When regulators initially raised the issue with Volkswagen, the automaker blamed the elevated pollution on “various technical issues and unexpected in-use conditions,” EPA said in the violation order. Regulators broadened their probe when the cars continued to pump out excess emissions after the recall, despite showing some improvement, the California board said. Nitrogen oxide is a major component of smog, or ground-level ozone pollution and particulate matter, which has been linked to asthma attacks and serious respiratory illnesses. At that point, regulators told Volkswagen that they would not approve the automaker’s 2016 models “until VW could adequately explain the anomalous emissions and ensure the agencies that the 2016 model year vehicles would not have similar issues,” the EPA said. “Only then did VW admit it had designed and installed a defeat device in these vehicles in the form of a sophisticated software algorithm that detected when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing,” the EPA said. “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,” said Richard Corey, executive officer at the California Air Resources Board. Rather than meet the standards, the EPA says VW sneaked in the defeat device software to detect when the car is hooked up to a dynamometer, a machine that measures emissions.

O’Donnell accused VW of “cheating not just car buyers but the breathing public.” He said the charges undercut industry rhetoric about “clean diesel” cars. By noting the position of the steering wheel, variations in speed and other data that suggest no one is driving the car, and thus it is likely being tested. The Volkswagens likely perform better with the emissions controls defeated than they do with them on, said Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for the automotive shopping and research site. Otherwise, he said, there would be no reason to have a setting that turns on the controls for tests and turns them off for regular driving. “Obviously it’s changing the way the engine operates somehow that may not be pleasing to consumers,” he said. “It would follow that it would put it into a very different feel in terms of operation of the vehicle.”

With humanity facing catastrophic damage from the effects of the greenhouse pollutants we pump into the air, VW’s transgression becomes all the more egregious.

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