Last week, the European Union warned seven member nations that it plans to sue them over their lack of active involvement in punishing diesel emissions fraudster Volkswagen. Those nations, which include Spain, Luxembourg, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Greece, the U.K. and Volkswagen’s home country of Germany, failed to establish and execute regulatory penalties against the embattled automaker.
Germany and the U.K. have additionally been cited for lack of cooperation with the EU’s investigation into Volkswagen. Both nations refused to hand over their own internal reports on VW emissions to the governing body.
This marks the first legal action from the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union’s government, since the VW “dieselgate” emissions scandal was uncovered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the fall of last year.
In September of 2015, the EPA revealed that Volkswagen had fraudulently programmed their diesel engines to produce fewer emissions than normal in testing scenarios. More than 11 million cars are suspected to have been altered in this way between model years 2009 and 2015, with over 500,000 of those vehicles reaching U.S. shores.
Without the illegal software in place, many VW models were found to exceed emissions limits more than forty-fold.
Diesel is the fuel of choice across the EU, with more than half of European automobiles operating on the efficient fuel. Europeans embraced diesel in the mid-90s to help reduce CO2 emissions, but the fuel causes more localized air pollution than typical gasoline, including releasing more particulate matter, which can be dangerous to human health.
Those risks are the reason for the rigorous regulation of diesel emissions, which Volkswagen took extreme measures to circumvent.
The seven nations targeted by the European Commission have two months to respond before a final warning is issued. A final warning from the Commission would mean that formal litigation was forthcoming.
Automobile manufacturers, regulators and testing engineers all need the most accurate possible emissions data to determine if a vehicle is operating safely and efficiently. MadgeTech, the New Hampshire data logger company, manufactures a variety of diesel emissions data loggers to support a thriving automotive industry as well as a healthy population.
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