EPA Goes Witch Hunting Following the VW Scandal, Might Find Plenty of Them

VW Passat TDI engine 1 photo
Photo: Florin Profir
After the first EPA findings in the VW diesel emissions rigging scandal, most of the other major manufacturers hurried with press releases saying their cars were as clean as a hospital room.
Recently, though, the EPA has signaled that the NOx readings were just one aspect of Volkswagen’s misleadings (albeit the most serious one), with the German company also exaggerating the official numbers of its cars’ CO2 emissions. That happened almost a week ago. And, guess what? No press releases from any other brand so far.

Coincidentally or not (obviously not), EPA has announced the expansion of its on-the-road emission test that will now cover every brand that sells diesel passenger cars in North America. That’s a big novelty since EPA previously only tested big trucks in real-world conditions.

Up until now, no other carmaker has been found to use similar emissions defeat devices, but the tests will take a few weeks to complete and only then will we get a complete idea on the state of the industry. EPA is focusing more on 2015 and 2016 year models, but says it will test older cars as well to see if their pollution-control devices are still performing.

Christopher Grundler, director of the office of transportation and air quality at EPA, is being urged to “think more like the cheaters,” and he appears to be complying. He refused to give out any details on how the new tests work, saying they will be carried out randomly. “Manufacturers have asked us what the test conditions would be, and we’ve told them that they don’t have a need to know,” Mr. Grundler said, quoted by The New York Times. “It will be random.”

We are very anxious to find out if there are any other programs out there,” concluded Christopher Grundler, probably rubbing his hands with excitement.

Whatever the result of these tests will be, one thing is certain: the manufacturers must be feeling the pressure and will hopefully think twice now before releasing some official emission and fuel consumption numbers that have nothing to do with reality. But until EPA releases its findings, all we can do is mimic Mr. Grundler and rub our hands, be it with delight or concern.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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