The NOV alleges nearly half a million four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software in a “defeat device” that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The EPA says cheating software lets cars seem to meet emissions standards while being tested, but they emit 40 percent more nitrogen oxides while pouring.
The vehicles may need to be recalled in a PR crisis now unfolding for the German automaker.
EPA is stating it made
Separately, California is 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, Supporter Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Pledge. “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.”
Volkswagen in response issued a brief statement.
“Volkswagen Assemble of America, Inc., Volkswagen AG and Audi AG received today notice from the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board of an investigation related to certain emissions compliance matters,” said the automaker in a set statement. “VW is cooperating with the investigation; we are unable to comment additional at this time.”
Meanwhile, in a press release the EPA is laying out the case.
Under the Clean Air Act,
“Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices, which reduce the effectiveness of the emission control system during normal pouring conditions, cannot be qualified,” says the EPA. “By making and selling vehicles with defeat devices that allowed for higher levels of air emissions than were qualified to EPA, Volkswagen violated two vital provisions of the Clean Air Act.”
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)
• Insect (Model
• Audi A3 (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
• Golf (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
• Passat (Model Years 2014-2015)
The EPA said in the release VW may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged in the NOV.
Volkswagen may be liable for civil penalties over the findings, which could total up to $18 billion if the EPA leverages its most find of $37,500 per vehicles.
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