Carmaker may have used software to evade strong US auto pollution standards, Clean Air Act requirements


Washington (February 23, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today called on the Department of Justice to thoroughly and quickly investigate any allegations that Daimler AG, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, used software to enable its vehicles to evade U.S. car pollution standards. Media reports indicate that the carmaker may have installed software that can detect when a vehicle’s emissions are being tested and cause the vehicle to reduce harmful exhaust gases during the testing period, potentially deceiving federal regulators and consumers, and endangering public health. Daimler AG has denied any wrongdoing.


“But if the reporting is true, and the company did install software to enable its vehicles to evade U.S. emissions standards, such wrongdoing would violate the Clean Air Act.,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal, members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Additionally, false advertising about the vehicles’ low emissions may have misled and deceived hundreds of thousands of American customers and violated consumer protection statutes.”


A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.


In 2016, Senators Markey and Blumenthal and U.S. Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced the Compensating Losses to the Environment from Automobiles with Noxious Undisclosed Pollution (CLEAN-UP) Act, legislation that would deny Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) credits to any auto manufacturer that circumvents emissions control requirements and would use monies collected from automakers that violate the law to be made available to programs that restore and improve air quality. The Senators also urged Volkswagen to ensure that owners of Volkswagen vehicles containing emission defeat devices are offered multiple options for adequate compensation for the damages and inconveniences incurred on them by the company’s deception. In 2017, a federal judge in Detroit ordered Volkswagen to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty for cheating on diesel emissions tests.