The VW diesel emissions scandal may not be hitting the headlines so much nowadays, but it still rumbles on, with the aftermath costing Volkswagen something in the region of £12 Billion. For those unaware of what happened, it emerged in September 2015 that VW had used “defeat software” to cheat tests and provide unrealistic data on fuel economy and emissions data, resulting in a huge scandal and a queue of millions of VW owners expecting recompense.
On the other side of the Atlantic, American owners of affected VW diesel cars are each being financially compensated, to the tune up to $10,000 (£7,400 at current exchange rates). US owners also have the option of having their vehicle repaired or having it “bought back” by VW.
Now, according to a BBC report, it’s emerged that British VW diesel owners aren’t in line for anything like the same deal. The 200,000 affected people are merely being offered a free repair job – something the report suggests around a quarter of the owners have taken VW up on so far.
Blame for this inferior deal, which MPs have described as “deeply unfair,” is being placed on government inaction. The Transport Committee feel that the government has “lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions.”
Will the scandal spread beyond VW diesel cars?
A question that’s arisen frequently since the scandal broke is whether it would emerge that other manufacturers were implicated in similar tactics to cheat emissions tests. This possibility is also explored in the BBC article referred to above.
A detailed report last month suggested that diesels from a host of manufacturers could be significantly more polluting in colder weather conditions, due to software configurations that allow more emissions in inclement weather. Due to “loopholes” in EU laws, it’s thought that manufacturers have found ways to get around this without breaking any rules. However, it means – just as before – that these cars are throwing out far more pollution that they were ever supposed to on paper.
Between 2017 and 2021, European regulations are going to get much tougher on emissions. The unfortunate problem here is that significant environmental damage has been (and is being) done in the interim period.