Volkswagen, the largest manufacturer of cars in the world, has admitted to cheating on emissions tests.
How bad is this? Eleven million cars were deliberately given sophisticated software that detected when the car was being given an emissions test (detecting that the steering wheel was not being turned even though the accelerator was being pressed, etc.), and reduced pollution so the cars would pass the test. But with the pollution controls on, the cars suffer from poor fuel efficiency and even worse performance, which would have hurt customer sales. So when the cars are not being tested, the pollution controls are disabled, causing the cars to (virtually all the time) pollute up to 40 times more than the legal limits. And the predominant pollutant is one of the most dangerous: nitrous oxides.
VW then marketed these cars as “CleanDiesel”, aggressively promoting their too-good-to-be-true combination of low pollution, excellent fuel economy, and good performance.
To those people who don’t think governments can do anything right, it took the US regulatory agencies to stop this massive fraud. Or if you think the government has no business regulating pollution standards, I beg to remind you that in the US alone, 200,000 deaths a year are caused by air pollution, and in the world, around 7 million deaths a year. That’s one hell of a holocaust every single year. And it costs us trillions of dollars in extra health care costs.
UPDATE: The Audi Superbowl ad has new meaning now (Audi is a subsidiary of VW and used the same evil engine).
And it may not just be the evil corporations. In Germany 1 in 7 jobs supports the auto industry. The phrase “German Engineering” is associated to every vehicle built by German companies. There could be indications that the German Gov’t itself knew and looked the other way and it may not be limited to just VW, but Audi and BMW as well. It could be a case of Corporate and Gov’t greed at the expense of every nation and unfair business competition that impacted every other auto maker struggling to comply with emission controls and building good cars.
Audi is a subsidiary of VW, and is complicit in the current scandal.
I guess The Green Police finally caught up with them.
Any takers on a bet about how many top executives at VW go to jail?
I’ll bet zero.
Peter, that ad is hysterical, and even more-so now. Here’s a comment on that video: