Dan Gilmore / Nov. 4, 2015

Volkswagen's Emissions Scandal Widens

Perhaps Volkswagen is turning over a new leaf.

The EPA said the Volkswagen emission scandal is bigger than the company originally admitted in September. On Nov. 2, the EPA sent the company a notice of violation, accusing it of installing emission test defeat devices on cars sporting 3.0-liter engines. Originally, the company landed in hot water at the end of September for installing defeat devices on 2.0-liter engines that violated the emission standards for nitrogen oxide. This development affects 10,000 more vehicles in the U.S. and Volkswagen’s Porsche and Audi brands. In a statement, VW pushed back against the EPA’s accusation, saying it “wishes to emphasize that no software has been installed in the 3-liter V-6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.” But if this truly is regulatory bullying on the EPA’s part, Volkswagen will have a difficult time proving it.

The EPA’s accusation came after it started testing all light-duty diesel vehicles with a new method designed to discover defeat devices. Meanwhile, Volkswagen started testing of its own and admitted Tuesday that its cars were emitting more carbon dioxide than what the company previously reported. It’s not just diesel cars, though, as the company hinted that its gasoline engines may have also been affected. This revelation affects 800,000 cars worldwide and may cost the company $2.19 billion.

In a statement, new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said, “From the very beginning I set out to ensure that we mercilessly and completely clear up this situation. This is a painful process but there is no alternative.”

It’s admirable that the company, in the face of EPA’s heavy-handed and unconstitutional regulations, admitted to yet another problem with its vehicles. Perhaps it’s a sign that the company that lied to lawmakers, taxpayers and consumers is turning over a new leaf.

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