Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automobile manufacturer, has been under the microscope throughout the world recently due to an emissions scandal that is destined to put a massive dent in production and sales. When the scandal was initially uncovered, it was estimated that globally,approximately 11 million diesel powered vehicles produced by the auto maker were involved, with an estimated 500,000 in the United States alone. As the investigation continues, however, that number has snowballed to include various models of gasoline powered vehicles as well, creating the worst business crisis in Volkswagen’s 78-year history.
On September 18th, 2015, German car manufacturer Volkswagen admitted that they had installed illegal software that is designed to manipulate the emissions testing equipment on diesel powered vehicles in the United States. The “defeat” software causes engines to produce fewer pollutants during emissions tests than what they produce under normal driving conditions. While the first concerns were about the levels of NOx (nitrogen oxide) that were being released into the air, further investigations have revealed that CO2 levels were also affected during testing. Admission to a second emissions scandal that includes certain gasoline powered vehicles could throw an additional 800,000 vehicles into the mix.
Pollutants Alarmingly High
The magnitude of the effects caused by these levels of pollutants is astounding.
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the United States revealed illegal levels of nitrogen oxide in September 2014 that were said to affect more than 11 million vehicles worldwide. NOx emissions st these levels can be extremely harmful to humans.
- According the the EPA, the levels of NOx emitted during normal driving conditions were approximately nine times higher than the levels emitted during testing.
- The second emissions scandal, which was revealed Tuesday, November 03, 2015, involves higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the atmosphere. CO2 is the main pollutant that is associated with global warming.
- Higher CO2 emissions result in lower gas mileage, and in Europe, where they are cracking down on greenhouse gas emissions, the scandal could result in higher tax bills for consumers as well.
- The VW emissions scandals will cause the value of affected vehicles to decrease, perhaps significantly.
Consumers who have already purchased vehicles affected by the scandals may have a legal claim against Volkswagen, and could receive reimbursement for damages.