Gaming the System
Europe’s Car Emissions Scandal Just Won’t End

It’s been nearly two years since the U.S. EPA caught the German carmaker Volkswagen redhanded, cheating on car emissions tests by installing software in vehicles that would make them appear to be more eco-friendly than they actually were, and the scandals keep coming. The latest environmental malfeasance out of “green” Germany comes to us courtesy of Porsche, a subsidiary of VW, which according to the German transport minister is guilty of having similar emissions fudging software installed in its vehicles. Reuters reports:

Porsche on Thursday said it had discovered “irregular” engine management software during an internal probe into emissions. Porsche also said it had agreed to recall the vehicles to fix the problem. […]

[German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt] said: “We have examined Porsche Cayenne vehicles of the 3 liter TDI Euro 6 Mark – during tests these vehicles deploy a so-called defense strategy, which isn’t activated in real traffic.” […]

Dobrindt also said there were some 7,500 vehicles of this type certified in Germany and some 22,000 certified in Europe. “We don’t know how many are with dealers. These are the cars that fall under the certification ban.”

Given how regular these reports of European carmakers have become, there’s no reason to think that regulators have gotten to the bottom of the issue. Clearly there was a culture of deep cynicism and active scamming in this industry, and it’s a bit hard to believe that that’s all gone away now that one corner of it has been unearthed.

Not convinced? Consider that the United States was already calling out Europe for gaming emissions tests nine months before the bogus software scandal broke. Even when carmakers weren’t designing programs to make vehicles behave abnormally green during these tests, they were apparently taping doors, removing side mirrors and stereo systems, and installing special-made tires on vehicles to inflate mileage numbers. Keep that in mind the next time Brussels gets sanctimonious about America’s green record.

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