VW’s defeat devices boosted fuel economy, allowed VW to profit from illegal activity
Washington (October 29, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and co-author of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE) law enacted in 2007, requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) re-analyze Volkswagen Group’s (VW’s) CAFE compliance history following the discovery that VW had been using defeat device software to skirt air pollution emissions requirements.
VW’s failure to use the proper emissions reduction technologies allowed its vehicles to operate more fuel efficiently, and thus also allowed VW to meet its CAFE standards without making the same vehicle design changes that other automakers had to make to meet their CAFE standards. Senator Markey’s review of VW’s CAFE compliance records found that VW consistently exceeded its CAFE standards for the model years that were subsequently recalled because of the use of defeat devices. VW also received CAFE credits for its over-compliance, which could have been used for both regulatory and monetary benefit.
“In light of VW’s illegal use of defeat devices to circumvent emissions controls, it is my belief that NHTSA should immediately re-analyze and, as appropriate, reverse any CAFE benefits VW might have enjoyed as a result of illegal behavior,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
Senator Markey’s letter also notes that VW was one of the only automakers to oppose President Obama’s 2011 proposal to increase fuel economy standards because it would be ‘unfair’ to makers of clean diesel engines, observing that “We’ve since learned that the term ‘clean diesel engine’ appears to have been an oxymoron when used to describe VW’s fleet. Some analyses have even concluded that the deaths of dozens of people may have been caused by the illegal air pollutant emissions VW’s defeat devices enabled.”
The full letter can be found HERE.