What is Dieselgate?
Back in 1999, it was announced that the US EPA Emission Standards would be changing. The limits to the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) each vehicle was legally allowed to produce was going to decrease. There was to be a phasing-in period to allow car manufacturers to curb their diesel emissions, with the law coming fully into effect in 2009.
Dieselgate refers to the actions of car manufacturing company Volkswagen, who had programmed vehicles to activate certain emission controls during testing. These allowed the vehicles to fall under the legal US diesel emissions standards during regulatory testing, while actually emitting up to 40 times the amount of nitrogen oxide the rest of the time.
VW Dieselgate began when a study found differences in the diesel emissions of Volkswagen vehicles in the US and in Europe. The study was commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), who analysed the Volkswagen emissions for 15 vehicles, with data coming from three separate sources.
Initially, Volkswagen denied any purposeful wrongdoing, saying that the discrepancies in the results were because of a technical glitch. However, in January 2017, VW changed their statement and pled guilty to rigging their vehicles with devices that would alter diesel emissions. They signed an agreed Statement of Facts explaining how the engineers had deliberately concealed the use of these devices. In response, a US federal judge ordered Volkswagen to pay a fine of $2.8 billion.
It was revealed that the Volkswagen emissions were rigged in almost 11 million cars worldwide through model years 2009 to 2015. In 2015, VW announced that they would be refitting all of the affected, which includes 5 million of their own branded diesel vehicles, 2.1 million at Audi, 700,000 at SEAT, 1.2 million at Škoda, and a further 1.8 million commercial vehicles.
Other Diesel Emission Scandals
As a result of Dieselgate, the diesel emissions of other car manufacturers fell under scrutiny. It was revealed that numerous other companies were making vehicles that exceeded legal emission limits in real world driving conditions. Further studies by the ICCT in collaboration with the ADAC (General German Driving Club) revealed those with the biggest variation in results. The worst offenders were Fiat, Citroën, Hyundai, Jeep, Renault and Volvo. Further investigations have been opened to investigate whether any further tampering with diesel emission results has occurred.
Tackling Diesel Emissions
In line with the stricter emissions limits set by the EPA Emissions Standards in the US, the UK is also reportedly responding to the need to curb diesel emissions. According to Government aides, Chancellor Philip Hammond will be either increasing road tax for diesel drivers, increasing diesel fuel duty, or introducing a new sales tax on diesel vehicles. Rather than pay the addition costs, drivers of old diesel drivers are being encouraged to participate in diesel scrappage schemes. Drivers who do so will be rewarded with £2,000 or more to put towards a new vehicle. Details are expected later this month, while further action against diesel emissions is expected in March 2018.
If you’re worried about the harmful emissions being emitted by your vehicles or would like to more closely manage the surcharges you expect to face, the likes of a fuel management tracking system can help.
The image shared in this article has been published by Marco Verch under Creative Commons License 2.0 and no changes were made.