By on September 25, 2015

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, it has officially emerged that Volkswagen has been lying to the general public like one of those guys who approaches you at a gas station and says his car has broken down and he just needs three more dollars for a bus fare.

This is surprising. Anyone who ever owned a Volkswagen knew that they were a bit sleazy, in the sense that they told you they offered “solid German engineering” when what they really offered was a bunch of untested parts farmed out to the lowest bidder. But we never really expected them to be overtly lying about stuff. Especially stuff as important as emissions results.

Or at least, I say “important,” but then I stop and think about it for a second, and I wonder: How important really are emissions numbers?

The answer is, pretty damn important if you breathe air. As it turns out, these high-polluting Volkswagen diesels are putting out 10 to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than they should be, which can be harmful for people with respiratory problems, or asthma, or basically just anyone who wants their air to be relatively clean.

And 10 to 40 times more than the standard isn’t a small figure. I keep reminding people it isn’t 10 to 40 percent more. It’s 10 to 40 times more. If the EPA standard is 100 somethings, Volkswagen isn’t at 110 to 140 somethings, which would be 10 to 40 percent more. They are at 1,000 to 4,000 somethings, which would be an increase of up to 3,900 percent. That’s a huge figure. And yet…

Given that emissions are generally something we can’t see, they’re something people usually don’t think about all that much. For instance: a Jetta’s engine has a quoted size, and a quoted horsepower rating, and a quoted torque number. There are quoted city and highway fuel economy ratings. But the vast majority of people probably have no idea how emissions are even measured, let alone what the Jetta’s figure is. It isn’t something we think about.

So how much do we really care about emissions?

I say this because I’ve read a huge number of forum posts, comment replies, Tweets, and Facebook statuses from Volkswagen TDI owners over the past few days, insistent that they do not plan on participating in any sort of recall that will limit their performance or fuel economy — and that sort of makes sense. Why would they want to trade something tangible (acceleration or gas mileage) for something they can’t see (emissions) — especially when there are giant semi trucks and huge construction vehicles and enormous factories polluting more than a TDI-powered Volkswagen ever will?

So maybe we don’t consider emissions to be such a big deal.

And yet, would we really be so quick to vilify Volkswagen if we didn’t care about emissions?

I think the answer is actually yes, largely because this isn’t really about emissions. This is about a corporation doing an evil deed — and not a deed they’ve carried out by accident, like faulty tires or a poorly designed ignition switch. This is a corporation that has intentionally engineered a device to violate federal regulations. It isn’t about emissions; it’s about corporate responsibility.

For proof of the fact that we don’t really care about emissions all that much, consider how long it took us to figure out that this was going on. These cars have been driving around and polluting way more than they should’ve for six years now, and the truth is only just coming out after some researchers with amateur-looking test equipment found some irregularities. By comparison, when Ford was overstating fuel economy figures, consumers were down their throats after a few months. The inflated numbers only lasted for one model year.

And so I ask you: Do you care about emissions? Does emissions factor into your decision to buy a vehicle? Or do you just trust your federal regulators to take care of emissions regulation and enforcement for you?

I admit that emissions aren’t something I think about very often. But as this scandal develops, I think that may start to change. For one thing, I’ve made it a point to cough in the general direction of every TDI Volkswagen I see. I’m sure their drivers appreciate this very much.

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247 Comments on “QOTD: How Much Do People Really Care About Emissions?...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    I certainly do.

    Ever get to follow an old carburetor-equipped classic car? A modded newer one that has the emission controls removed?

    You can smell those a mile away and they stink! Every bit as bad as smelling cigarette smoke.

    All this coming from this 64-year-old who grew up with all that, and I don’t miss it one single bit.

    Now, truth be told, I don’t know what’s really coming out of the tailpipes nowadays – could be just as harmful even though you can’t smell it, but at least you don’t know what’s trying to kill you.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      FWIW a fair amount of classic car owners are putting mini cats on their rides as they don’t care for the smell either. I plan to do the same when the LS swap time comes for mine. Hard to justify cutting up the exhaust system twice in two years or so on a car that is not driven much, hence why I have not done it already.

      Further, the modern technology makes soooo much more power the bs excuse of removing the emissions gear to gain hp is pretty lame at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        And the high flow of a modern high performance catalytic converter their really isn’t a performance penalty for the gain in a nicer smelling vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Only in a few instances I can see deleting the cats on a car but they generally involve forced induction and a lack of wide band 02 sensors and knock sensors. In those cars at around 750-800 crank horsepower the cats can melt with sustained operation under boost.

        Naturally aspirated and high horsepower forced induction cars designed for it like the Hell Cats don’t suffer though.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I can remember in the late 60’s getting home after being in dense rush hour traffic and my clothes smelling of car exhaust, sort of like being in a smoky bar and coming home with smelly clothes.

      There was a ’68 Pontiac GTO in front of me a few days ago, I kept my distance knowing how smelly its exhaust would be, and even at a half a block back, I still got wiffs of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Rudolph

      How about the exhaust from the GMC 6-71 2-cycle diesels* in the Greyhound and Trailway buses from the 50s and 60s •

      ☺ You could get a lawful “high” behind one in stop-n-go traffic ☺
      GM also had 4-54 , 4-71 , etc.

  • avatar
    ckb

    You know why we don’t think about emissions? Because we’ve done such a good job reducing them! Ask this question to Los Angeles in the 80’s. This is why politicians don’t get strung up when they say we should abolish the EPA. The very reason they can get away with it is because its fixed so many huge problems!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s the knock on the EPA – that it’s trying to solve the problem it has already solved with more stringent limits. Most people aren’t old enough to remember the smog conditions in the LA basin and other urban areas, not just in California. There’s a tipping point where natural forces can clean the air of what we put into it, but good luck finding a definitive answer to where that point is.

      Cars in the 1950s were filthy, but there were a lot fewer of them than much cleaner cars now, but with the average age of cars relatively high, a lot of those cars are creeping up to the upper limit of emissions. Who’s to say where that tipping point is today? More research is needed!

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Claw

      Bingo.

  • avatar
    wsn

    To me, any emission that cause respiratory problems is a big no no. My son and myself both have light symptoms of asthma. I didn’t have asthma during my younger years. But now I do. If a certain gas is known to cause such issues and it’s forbidden by law, I view such violation as criminally endangering public health and safety.

    Just to clarify, I don’t regard CO2 as anything bad. It does not cause respiratory problems and it’s food for vegetation. I don’t buy the argument to limit CO2 amount. If there is too much of it, plant more trees to recapture the carbon please.

  • avatar
    caltemus

    I bet there are more old diesel school buses and heavy trucks on the road putting out massive quantities of nitrogen emissions, that would dwarf the more-than-allowed emissions of the volkswagens in question.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Bingo. The transit buses used by Metro and Sound Transit in greenyland Seattle spew PM like nobody’s business (and oh, our commuter train does also).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Buses are typically exempt from emissions/safety inspection, as are all all municipal vehicles (in this state).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Not really.

        Metro is now retiring its last fleet of buses (just a few are still in service on the Eastside) that were made before modern emission controls. And they’re not all that dirty, since they are using ULSD and have computer-controlled engines. The real PM-spewing buses retired about a decade ago.

        Sound Transit doesn’t have any non-DPF buses anymore.

        I’ll give you the commuter train, but it’s 7 lousy vehicles, and the next generation of diesel locomotives will be a lot cleaner — new emissions standards came into force for locos made this year.

        I drove transit buses right when the DPF generation was starting to come on to the property, including the first batch of hybrid diesel-electrics. It was pretty amazing to rub the inside of a tailpipe and not find any soot.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Even those are being rapidly phased out, though. In the DC metro area and many others, the vast majority of buses are diesel hybrids or extremely clean CNG. I can’t speak to the specifics, but I’m certain the trucking industry has been under emissions reductions requirements for years. Even for heaviest of heavy vehicles, it’s pretty rare to see them “roll coal” under acceleration these days, whereas that used to be the norm.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      And for years, people in California couldn’t even buy new Diesel passenger cars (and a sizeable market grew for used ones shipped in from out of state) while heavy trucks went essentially unregulated at all.

      We also couldn’t get “clean Diesel” technology for years in the U.S. because our high-sulfer Diesel fuel would ruin the systems. Why? Because our lawmakers didn’t want to hurt the heavy trucking industry and potentially raise Diesel fuel prices. In order words, our own lawmakers didn’t really care about Diesel emissions either. The impact of a relative small number of
      Diesel passenger vehicles pales in comparison to the commercial trucking industry in this country.

      This doesn’t excuse what VW did, just saying that there is a lot of inconsistency in how we regulate this stuff. And, the government (mostly the GOP) has also seen fit to de-fund our regulatory agencies so that they have to rely on the manufacturers (not just of cars) to test products themselves.

      I guess the question I have is how dirty are these VW Diesels? Compared to a Mercedes 300D from the 1980s, I expect that they are still amazingly clean. Also, since other types of pollution (like CO2) are a function of the amount of fuel burned, wouldn’t the high fuel-efficiency of these vehicles mean that they still emit fewer greenhouse gases? NOx and particulate emissions are different, I know, but overall, how bad are they?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The affected vehicles (when not on “good boy mode”) emit a tiny fraction of the particulates of that 300D but about the same amount of NOx.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’m with Steve, I would like to see some number ran, what are the actual NOx numbers these cars are putting out compared to what they’re suppose to put out. What did the same vehicles put out in the 70s, 80, 90s? And then I would like to see a comparison between all of those numbers and the numbers that the 3/4+ pickups are putting out today, and the numbers they were putting out in 2006 prior to the current regulations.

        All this without me having to google it myself obviously haha.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Current VW TDIs claimed to meet the EPA Bin 5 requirement which was NOx at or 0.05 grams per mile.

          As recently as 2006 VW TDIs were sold under Bin 10 standard, which is 0.40 grams per mile.

          For point of reference, in 2008 the fleet average emissions for HD diesel pickup trucks was 3.1 grams per mile. The average emissions for all HD diesel vehicles was 8.6 grams per mile. The average for class VIIIb (ie. semis) was 11 grams per mile.

          The public health catastrophe that the ecofascists are spinning this as, just isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Fascists. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It’s the building block of every strawman and ad hominem fallacy everywhere. Once you’ve used it, you obviously don’t have anything else to say.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Well, what he said before that was pretty complete.

            But yeah, the term has become just as meaningless as “racist”.

            Saw an historical review yesterday where an Italian was upset about a term used by Brits about the Italian Navy (as reported by an American historian) and so played the racist card.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My local school district has a couple of these old buses still in service (and one new one) which serve our local elementary school. My son and I walk to school together in the mornings, and my lungs recoil every time one goes by.

      Thank you for saving my tax dollars. *Cough* *Cough*

    • 0 avatar
      CrapBox

      Ships spew quite a bit of pollution, too. But that’s okay because they switch from bunker fuel to diesel a few hours out of port.

    • 0 avatar
      Rudolph

      + M-B 200d , 220d , 240d , 300td

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    No they don’t, the EPA has done an outstanding job cleaning up the air, most car buyers buy a new car every 7-10 years and don’t think about emissions beyond the yearly test. They trust the scientists who have figured out what the emissions need to be and they trust the car manufacturer to abide by the rules set in place by the EPA. VW has violated this trust and it won’t end well.

    Oh and props Doug for doing the math in the article, too many people have been down playing how much more these cars have been polluting.

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      Do you actually believe a diesel that blows 4000% more PM and NOX wouldn’t be noticeable coming out the pipe?

      VW lied and they need to be punished accordingly, but that does not mean these engines are “dirty.” At least not 4000% dirtier than they are required to be. Common sense needs to be applied here.

      Current emission standards
      • PM—0.01 g/bhp-hr
      • NOx—0.20 g/bhp-hr
      • NMHC—0.14 g/bhp-hr

      Tier 1 standards

      PM- 0.4 g/bhp-hr
      NOx-6.9 g/bhp-hr
      NMHC- 1.0 g/bhp-hr

      That amounts to a 96% reduction in PM and NOx, and an 86% reduction in NMHC between Tier 1 and the latest standards, yet VW has been blowing 4000% more of the above emissions out the pipe than permitted?

      Here’s your sign.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Where is the outrage for the idiots who ‘roll coal?’
    I wonder, does the aggregate NOx of TDI’s overshadow the aggregate NOx of moron aftermarket modders of pick up trucks?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’d bet that one Cummins/KKK/Confederate Flag Supporter rally produces more NOx than all VWs in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I have outrage for them. I was raised to believe that operating a vehicle so poorly tuned that people could see or smell what was coming out of the tailpipe was an embarrassment.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Doesn’t matter how you were raised. These turds were raised that this is how you “stick it to the man.”

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        Agreed. My 1986 Dodge has a little smell to it, but I try to keep it as clean as I can. I can’t see any logical reason why you would want to make your newer truck appear as if you can’t afford maintenance.

        Of course, I can’t see any logical reason to have a Compensator 9000 has a daily driver, either….

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        My dad believed that, when it comes to class, it doesn’t matter what you have.

        What matters is how good your manners are, and how well you take care of your stuff.

        A beautifully maintained car from the early 2000s is much more impressive to me than a Brodozer, or a BMW.

        You can imagine what I think of people who deliberately break their vehicles, just so that they can p!ss in the air I breathe. The air where I live is clean enough that these broken vehicles really stand out. P!ssing in the air I breathe isn’t “sticking it to the government”, it’s just being a d!ck.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          My daily driver is an 89 Jeep. Good shape but still 1989 standards.

          Not that I have any plans to replace it, however, because I like it and it’s very simple to service.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Claw

        @PrincipalDan – I agree. It’s just bad engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Plenty of outrage here. I would happily support a law that would provide for immediate impound of cars suspected to have modifications intended to increase emissions, and eventual crushing after an inspection and a hearing. These idiots need to learn a little respect for the rest of us.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        Ahhh the left’s answer to every problem is either more government or more power to existing government. Both result in the erosion of everyone’s rights and private property……

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Once everyone’s dead or dying, all that personal freedom is sure going to be appreciated.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Are you claiming that people have a right to roll coal?

          Unless they do, no rights infringed here. There’s due process, and appropriate punishment for violations of the law.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            “I would happily support a law that would provide for immediate impound of cars suspected to have modifications intended to increase emissions, and eventual crushing after an inspection and a hearing.”

            Lots of due process there, you impound a car and then crush. After a hearing of course, gotta get that pesky due process out of the way…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The immediate impound is to protect the public from carcinogenic smoke.

            The hearing is, yes, due process. If your modification was NOT done for the purpose of increasing emissions, you can show it, and you get your car back. If you can’t show it, then you suffer the consequences of your actions.

            Somehow I doubt you are complaining about a lack of “due process” for other types of violators (such as heroin dealers) whose property is impounded before a hearing for the purpose of protecting public safety.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Rolling coal and operating an ICE at all, or flipping a light switch for that matter, are distinctions separated only by degree.

            Consider what radical politics look like in 2015. Have you read, say, the Daily Kaos lately? Do those people seem to be aware of a degree between rolling coal and owning a Tahoe?

            I would be awfully careful of calling for a man from the government with a gun to come fix things. He’ll answer.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Rolling coal and operating an ICE at all, or flipping a light switch for that matter, are distinctions separated only by degree.”

            Hardly. One is within existing law, and one is not.

            I can’t believe the eagerness to protect coal rollers from stricter enforcement of existing laws. Do you really choke on their fumes when you end up behind them and think “FREEDOM”?

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Ah yes the evil government.

          We should all just rely on the altruistic, noble, benevolent and inherently good “invisible hand of the free market”.

          It is not VW’s fault they cheated on the regulations, it is the government’s fault for having the audacity to establish the “job killing” regulations in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      dartman

      Here’s my outrage: First offense should result in a $1000 fine and require the offending vehicle be brought in to compliance, cost be damned within 90 days; failure to do so would result in confiscation/impoundment/crushing of vehicle. Second offense would result in immediate confiscation/impoundment/crush; arrest of owner on reckless endangerment and loss of license for 3 years. All of the above would be subject to normal due process.

      The idiots “rolling coal” dont have sense enough to know they are shitting in their own nests; but when you shit in mine you should pay a substantial price. 2 or 3 confiscation/crushes and you would see this asinine behavior stop.

    • 0 avatar
      mchan1

      There is outrage!

      “This is about freedom!” is something I’ve noticed on this “roll coal” issue on various online articles and forums!

      Freedom against the Government!
      That’s relatively fine, depending on what one does!

      Freedom to pollute the environment!
      THIS does NOT give ANYONE the right to pollute to add MORE pollutants to the environment.

      But everyone has their agendas and views on how to ‘stick it to the man (govt)!’ but they’re also killing themselves and others!

      Go screw yourself if you want! It’s your choice!

      But don’t screw others because of your ignorance/hatred/what have you!

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      As much I dislike rolling coal, it may not be so bad in terms of NOx emissions. Diesel engines produce more particulate emissions when running rich – which means lower combustion temperatures and less NOx. That’s what TDI engines were doing when they knew they were being tested.

      When a diesel engine runs lean, it runs hot. That burns off a lot of the particulates but also creates a lot more NOx.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Hard to quantify caring.

    To me, bypassing emissions equipment falls in the just because you can doesn’t mean that you should category. The relatively small amount of VW diesels on the road don’t have an appreciable impact on the overall air quality. I’m probably not going to fault someone for deciding not to change their TDI to the new ECU tuning that makes it slower and less efficient. Someone intentionally removing emissions equipment on their Cummins to roll coal on me while I’m enjoying a road bike ride on a back road, on the other hand, I care about.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      ” The relatively small amount of VW diesels on the road don’t have an appreciable impact on the overall air quality.”

      They are 1% of the cars sold but produce 10x to 40x the limit for NOx, that’s 10% to 40% of all NOx produced buy all cars sold in the past 7 years. That’s a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Are VW 2.0TDIs really 1%? I didn’t think that VW TDIs had that sort of market penetration. (GM holds something like 15% over their whole line-up…)

        Did some back of the napkin calcs.: With this impacting 500k vehicles in the US and their being 15M new vehicles per year for the past decade, I figured it would be closer to 0.3%. Based on my past experience with VWs, I figure they will probably have a pretty short life in the US just based on overall durability.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          The numbers I saw were 50 million cars sold over the period in question, of which VW’s diesels represented 500,000 or 1%.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That’s way off.

            This began with the 2009 model year. Between January 2009 and last month, there were about 92.6 million new vehicles registered in the US. There were another 13.1 million new registrations in CY 2008, so there would have been another 3-4 million vehicles sold during the period of 2008 that these VWs were on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “The relatively small amount of VW diesels on the road don’t have an appreciable impact on the overall air quality.”

      Did you read the numbers in the article? They very much do. They may be responsible for as much as 5% to 10% of all the smog in LA today.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The thing with NOx is that gasoline engines are now producing 4-5% as much as they were 20 years ago, while non-urea diesels are still producing about as much as they did back then. That means old cars are still responsible for most of the smog, but in 10-15 years when they’re largely off the road, ’09-’15 diesels will be a very significant contributor despite their small market share.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Not sure if so many people care. But, will states allow the tdi’s to be retitled or registered without having proof of a fix?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    The contradiction between what people say about emissions and what people do about them is nicely explained by the Onion’s post about public transit:

    ‘A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.

    “With traffic congestion, pollution, and oil shortages all getting worse, now is the time to shift to affordable, efficient public transportation,” APTA director Howard Collier said. “Fortunately, as this report shows, Americans have finally recognized the need for everyone else to do exactly that.”‘

    We all expect everyone else to do whatever it takes to keep the air clean and reduce carbon output, while we ourselves will continue on with life as usual.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Doug, do you really think VW does not test parts? If saving costs is the objective wouldn’t testing parts likely make sense to limit warranty exposure to failures? What ff two bids are close during the farming out process? Let’s say to Lear and Faurecia for a seat mechanism that should last the life of the car but the Lear bid is 20% less likely to fail during the warranty period. Being cheap would drive VW to go for the Lear piece. Now what if the Lear piece was 2% more expensive but had a 10% less probability of failure during warranty which one should they choose?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      As someone with supplier experience: all you have to do is meet your design parameters and pass PV/DV tests and meet the customer design specifications. After that, it’s all cost.

      Meet minimum spec, be the cheapest. There isn’t any analysis beyond engineering approval then being passed of to purchasing.

      I would trust a supplier’s engineering prowess over ze German OEM’s at this juncture.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Doug-Bot shoots and scores.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Someone asked me yesterday whether I, as the owner of a 2013 Passat TDI, was disappointed by what Volkswagen did or felt betrayed by them. I’ve been following the news like everyone else, and while I suppose I was a bit shocked by the brazenness (and perhaps slightly impressed by someone actually doing something like this), I never stopped to think about whether I was personally offended by what Volkswagen did, or felt that I was defrauded by the company.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have seen plenty of companies cheat on plenty of things, or just the fact that I have bigger things to worry about, but for some reason this whole issue just isn’t phasing me. My wife will continue to drive her Passat and we’ll wait and see what Volkswagen comes up with to address the issue. My wife loves her Passat and not too long before this whole thing broke she mentioned to me that she wants to run the car into the ground. I believe she still feels that way, but after two big insurance claims within the first 90 days of ownership (someone backed into the car while it was sitting in their driveway. My wife hit a deer about two weeks after we got the car back from the shop) I wouldn’t necessarily turn down a buy back if that option came up.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I’m of the same opinion, I really don’t care much. I know my car is still ridiculously clean compared to old VW or Mercedes diesels and the dirty old trucks I see on the road. It’s probably also cleaner than a lot of the old gas cars I see on the road where I wonder how many cases of beer someone paid their mechanic to get an inspection sticker.

      I’m going to continue to drive my car and enjoy it, and wait to see what the EPA forces VW to do. If they want to buy my car back maybe I’d accept that if the offer was reasonable. If my car is required to get the ECU update for registration I’ll go in and do that and then eventually get a Malone tune because I was planning on doing that in the future anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      The question I have is will you follow through with a fix that results in inferior performance metrics? Or will you run the vehicle into the ground with the knowledge that your car does not meet EPA clean air regulations?

      Personally, I would be conflicted. At that juncture I would want the OEM to eat the costs of their mistake and to compensate me for the hassle.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I would go through with the fix and also demand compensation.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        n/a

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        While the C-Max debacle wasn’t directly related to emissions, I was pretty pi$$ed at Ford. I knew that I was never going to get 47 MPG because I drove a C-Max prior to purchasing, but it was still some BS. Unfortunately, with emmissions, there is no way to tell. That being said, the $1000 I recived from Ford helped, and my complaining netted me an extended warranty and an apology letter from some people at Glass House. They also fixed the programming, but heck if I can tell the difference.

        It has significantly affected values of used C-Maxes though. They fall off a cliff. I don’t know if the same thing will happen with TDI vehicles, but if it does, it’s going to suck for owners.

        I get the fix done and demand payment from VW. I’d also demand an extended warranty, because an out of warranty VW with a now less desirable “fixed” TDI engine scares the sh!t out of me when it comes to long term ownership costs.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I would want the OEM to eat the costs of their mistake”

        I’m not an engineer, but I doubt that such a thing is possible. Aside from some largely ineffective half-fixes, the only thing that VW can do is to write checks to the government and possibly the owners, as the equipment needed to get into compliance would cost far too much when engineered and installed after the fact.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Last I saw, 2013 Passat isn’t even on the list of cars being recalled.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Quentin i would second that Just running along side the road with some of these diesel trucks that are poorly tuned could choke you to death. Just came back from a trip down to Florida and the number of diesel pickup truck on the road is huge. Spotted two trucks blowing coal.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I would be truly happy if we could reduce the size of the feral (!) government by the same percentage that we have cut auto emissions since 1970.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      So corporations could run wild?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That’s just blowing smoke unless you tell us specifically what you want to cut. 80% of the “feral government” is Social Security, Medicare, defense, and interest on the debt, in that order.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Give the guy a break. He has every right to believe without thinking.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’ll believe that Corporations are People when Texas executes one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            +1

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            “I’ll believe that Corporations are People when Texas executes one.”

            I agree with the sentiment, but didn’t the govt effectively execute Arthur Andersen in the wake of the Enron implosion? I don’t know if that could happen to a firm that wasn’t in a trust business like accounting, but still? And yes, Accenture is still around but AA is all but dead.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            That was the federal government, wasn’t it?

            While other states review their death penalty procedures and reopen cases, Texas puts in an express lane.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Every state has procedures in its corporate statutes through which a judge can force a corporation or LLC to dissolve. That is the corporate death penalty. The procedures are rarely employed, especially against very large entities, but they are there.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “While other states review their death penalty procedures and reopen cases, Texas puts in an express lane.”

            I know!

            If the damn place weren’t so effing hot I’d move there in a heartbeat!

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        Let start with the Department of Agriculture which has around 108K employees. Or the department of education which does not employ any teachers yet has its own SWAT team. Or TSA which has yet to catch a single terrorist but we are safe from nail clippers and Swiss Army knives…..

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Congratulations. You just saved a bit less than 5% of the federal budget, and eliminated all food safety programs, the Forest Service (that manages most of our recreational areas), and most students’ ability to pay for college and grad school.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It sounded like a great idea until you came along and put some thought was put into it.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            If you could read I said start. I am sure we need 108K people to manage “food safety” Maybe if the Feds didn’t own most of the land in the states (over 90% in Nevada for example) we wouldn’t need the Foresters.
            Explain to me why the Dept. of Ed needs a SWAT Team or ANY armed people.

            Since 5% is nothing to you please send me 5% of your income. What does living in your Mom’s basement pay by the way?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            If you’re gonna resort to personal attacks, you must have nothing else to add.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            dal doesn’t think the DoE should have a SWAT team or armed employees. But he probably also thinks that local governments don’t need MRAPs either.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Maybe we cancel the abortion that is the F35 program instead.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You could fund an awful lot of improvements to the F/A-18E/F for all that money, and build a few more F-22s while you’re at it, and probably end up with a better air force.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The F-35 is supposed to be a halo plane, right? Like, the Air Force comes in and sees a couple F-35s in the showroom, and then balks at the price and settles for a few F-22s with the premium package and heated seats?

            (I have no idea how defense contracts work.)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If I get to far into this discussion my head will explode. Like you said, the right answer has a lot of F22s and F18s. It also has drones, a new VSTOL aircraft for the Marines, transferring all the A10s to the Army, more drones, and other niche aircraft.

            DrZ-

            Imagine Honda replacing the Accord, Civic, Fit, and CR-V with a new vehicle that is worse than the vehicles it is replacing because it has to be all those things at once. Now make it cost more than all of those vehicles, give it worse performance, and then buy it without it undergoing anything more than basic testing because, you know, computers make everything work. The F35 program is worse than that.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’m right with you, bball. Head explode if you think about it too much.

            Drzhivago, the F-22 is actually a lot more expensive than the F-35, but it also works (really, really well) for its intended mission. The problem with the F-35 is that it’s trying to do way too many things and can’t do any of them competently, except that it can sort of do the same thing as the F-22 but not as well.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, the F22 is now cheaper than the F35. The flyaway cost of the F22 in 2009 was $138 million. It would be less today. We could have even gotten a Navy version of the F22 for waaaaay less than the $300 million each F35C is going to run us. Or, more Super Hornets.

            The F35 is the best VSTOL aircraft ever. But that only matters to the Marines.

            The JSF program is $200 billion over budget. Holy Jeebus it’s bad.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Here’s a general thought, what are the aircraft up against at this point? Soviet and European designs, or did the Chinese get serious with their aircraft development?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Realistically? The competition is still behind the F15/16/18 in many respects. Those are still fantastic planes that hook into the data system of all data systems. The US is able to get info from satellites, electronics aircraft, and the ground to an F16. That puts everyone else at a disadvantage. The F/A-18 design might be 40 years old, but the SuperHornet is still the best Naval aircraft in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        Means tested welfare programs cost $1T annually. You can start there.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Fail. The entire discretionary budget is a bit less than $0.6T, and “welfare programs” are a small part of that.

          The non-discretionary programs (Medicare and SS) are not means-tested (yet).

          It’s easy to make up really scary facts, isn’t it?

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            “The entire discretionary budget is a bit less than $0.6T”

            It’s not hard to find Wikipedia. Total 2014 federal spending was $3.65T.

            National defense is $620B.
            SS and Medicare are about $1.3T.

            From the Congressional Research Service:

            “CRS identified 83 overlapping federal welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these 80-plus federal welfare programs amounts to roughly $1.03 trillion.”

            Unlike you, I don’t just make stuff up.
            .
            .

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can’t read very well, can you? You overlooked the word “discretionary” in my post. That very same Wikipedia page you cited will tell you that the **discretionary** non-defense budget, out of which non-SS or Medicare welfare programs come, is $583B.

            And, yes, quoting a press release from Jeff Sessions, the second dumbest Senator (losing out narrowly to box of rocks Jim Inhofe), is effectively making stuff up. What you quoted is not CRS, but a particularly challenged Senator making incorrect claims about what’s in a CRS report. The press release is including state spending in a claim about the federal budget and calling Medicaid, a bunch of other health programs, and a bunch of education programs “welfare programs.” Wildly misleading at best, making sh!t up at worst.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            “you can’t read very well, can you? You overlooked the word “discretionary” in my post.”

            No, I saw that just fine. For one thing, defense is considered discretionary.

            Function 600 in the federal budget for 2015 is $542B. Here’s what that is:

            “Function 600 consists of a range of income security programs that provide cash or near-cash assistance (e.g., housing, nutrition, and energy assistance) to low-income persons, and benefits to certain retirees, persons with disabilities, and the unemployed. Housing assistance programs account for the largest share of discretionary funding in this function. Major federal entitlement programs in this function include unemployment insurance, trade adjustment assistance income support, food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, foster care, and Supplemental Security Income.”
            .
            .

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            So you’ve moved from 1T to 0.5T. But some of that stuff (SSI, unemployment) is in the mandatory non-SS category. And it’s worth looking at who the programs are funding:

            SSI: “aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income”; i.e., people who have no money and can’t work to get any

            Unemployment insurance and trade adjustment: People who are laid off, for a limited time

            Foster care: displaced kids

            Only TANF and SNAP from that list are what a normal person would think of as “welfare,” in the sense that they are permanent programs available to working-age adults. The two combined have a federal budget of less than $100 billion (SNAP $74 billion, TANF $18 billion).

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        The Right wing ideologue has it easy intellectually.
        There are two solutions to every problem regardless of complexity. Cut taxes and/or drop bombs.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I would be truly happy if we could reduce the size of the feral (!) government by the same percentage that we have cut auto emissions since 1970.”

      Well, with Boehner’s resignation from the Speakership and the House end of October, who knows what’s in store when the Uber Right takes control of the House?

      I forecast endless Continuing Resolutions (CRs) until AFTER the Nov 2016 elections once Boehner leaves the job.

      This has got to be Oh’s worst nightmare. The Uber Right is dead set against compromise which will result in absolutely nothing getting done in Congress.

      And if you don’t think this will affect the auto industry? Think again. During times of insecurity, consumers quit shopping!

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Air quality in Phoenix has improved over the years, however, there is still room for improvement. Summer here can be difficult without an inhaler. I believe restrictions are necessary for continued improvement.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I think folks who own TDI’s might care about the perception of “clean diesels” but are probably more upset with the potential loss of performance that may come from any “fix” as well as loss of value to their car due to this. I am not a VW diesel owner, but have always thought about the potential to own a diesel wagon, but more for the fact of the mileage than any aspect of being environmentally “clean.” That said, I’m sure that any number of folks did research, reviewed and tested the diesel VWs based on the fact that they were clean and bought them because of this. The actual emissions might not matter as much as the overarching concept of driving a less-polluting vehicle.

    Fun stuff…

  • avatar

    I agree while the issue of emissions should be bigger, the fact emissions are largely invisible and unnoticed means they get relegated in importance. Out of sight out of mind.

    The bigger deal coming out of this for VW is the loss of public trust in them. If they are willing to lie to the federal govt about emissions, what else are they willing to lie about to us?

    VW electric vehicles are selling gangbusters in Norway. I’m sure they’d like to capture a good portion of the US EV market but if VW claim efficiencies, mileage etc are we to believe them on anything?

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      EV’s sell well in Norway because of the tax structure in the Nordic countries. You can buy a Tesla (which is tax exempt) for the same price as an Audi A4 there. In the US, they’d only have a $7500 price advantage on their gasser/diesel competitors.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    People care about it, but the degree to which they care is the issue. Nearly everyone would be driving electric cars if they offered the range, price, space and power of a gas or diesel car.

    So yes, we care about car emissions, but we care about other things more. It’s what, maybe 7th or 8th most important on a car purchase or lease?

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Living in a port city it’s pretty hard for me to get outraged about VW diesel emissions when there is a constant parade of smoke belching transport trucks on the roads. Indeed the very ships coming into our port to deliver goods destined for you and me or to take us on cruises purportedly create 10% of the regions emissions.

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    Well, here in the TDI stronghold of Portland, OR, the answer is “Abso-fuckin’-loutely.” I know a few TDI owners who run from ‘mild enthusiast’ to ‘doesn’t know glow plugs from brake calipers,’ and they are all pretty disgusted about it. NOx, even simply the idea of it, conflates with traditional smelly, sooty diesel stereotypes in a way that’s much more visceral than CO2 emissions- it doesn’t take an enthusiast to understand that.

    Many non-enthusiasts only care mildly about performance, and will tolerate a small drop in efficiency, but they’re the ones most stung by the stripping of the greenwash. The people who do care about performance are now just pissed off because they have two non-ideal options.

    Everyone feels betrayed; their cars have the mark of Cain. This is going to hurt VW in a deep, lasting way. I’m a longtime VW guy myself (though not TDI) and it makes me sad to admit.

    OTOH, all the 1.9TDI owners are just having a big laugh over all of this as they putt-putt their way around at 50mpg.

  • avatar
    whisperquiet

    Here is an interesting link to a real pollution problem.

    World’s 15 Biggest Ships Create More Pollution Than All The Cars In The World

    By: Jeremy Helms | June 5th, 2013
    inShare65
    homepage-slider-photos9

    Says James Corbett, professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware: “Ship pollution affects the health of communities in coastal and inland regions around the world, yet pollution from ships remains one of the least regulated parts of our global transportation system.” It sounds serious, but how bad could it be? Staggeringly, if a report by the UK’s Guardian newspaper is to be believed. According to their story, just one of the world’s largest container ships can emit about as much pollution as 50 million cars. Further, the 15 largest ships in the world emit as much nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide as the world’s 760 million cars.

    The problem isn’t necessarily with the ships’ 109,000-horsepower engines that endlessly spin away 24 hours a day, 280 days a year. In fact, these powerplants are some of the most fuel efficient units in the world. The real issue lies with the heavy fuel oil the ships run on and the almost complete lack of regulations applied to the giant exhaust stacks of these container ships.

    The good news is that pressure is building from various governments around the world, including the United States, which just recently introduced legislation to keep these ships at least 230 miles away from U.S. coastlines. Similar measures are likely to follow in other countries like the United Kingdom. [via]

    Jeremy Helms

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Refining the fuel used to power large ships, and then adding emissions controls comparable to those on OTR diesels, would be an absolutely huge environmental win. But, like action on CO2 emissions, it requires concerted action by all the big-country governments in the world, and that’s REALLY hard. So it hasn’t happened.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I might add pressuring where the ships are flagged would be a good place to start. However the corporation who own those ships have a fair mount of money and influence, its much safer/easier to tax and punish individuals even if the big fish get away.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Agreed. Preventing dirty ships from actually docking anywhere useful is the next-best thing, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Preventing them from docking in the US without some kind of investment into the pollution control system would be a start.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            There’s actually a cottage industry of “offshore” medical treatment centers where certain types of very expensive drugs are administered. Patients board a small boat at a US port city that takes them to a larger boat moored in international waters. People board, get the treatment, and return to port. This is set up to circumvent the US Government’s restrictions (which are designed to ensure that US patients pay for most of a drug’s development costs) on importing prescription drugs from foreign countries.

            I don’t see why the “dirty” cruise ships can’t be boarded the same way, and it’d probably still be cheaper than reducing the emissions of cruse fleets.

            Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean there should be a law.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          And here I thought Liberia was a titan of commerce.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great post.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      NOx is a local pollutant though – unlike greenhouse gases, NOx emissions only really affect people when they happen in built-up areas.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Other guys do it, therefore what I do doesn’t matter” doesn’t qualify as a rebuttal.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      whisperquiet – – –

      I agree.

      But recently a study showing the pollution from all the airliners in the world constitutes 25% of pollution from all man-made sources. But more significantly, THAT CO2 is placed in the upper atmosphere where its global-warming effect is most dramatic, and where heat-absorbing soot can disperse most widely.

      There is not much we can do about it, except build high-speed maglev trains that run on electricity produced by wind/solar or nuclear power plants (like the French, who have 80% of their electricity coming from nuclear). But going across oceans may be a problem unless undersea “tubes” are built as well, like the “Chunnel” (British-French connection).

      I don’t see a viable development of electric airplanes in the near future. Maybe when teleportation is worked out we can beam ourselves around the planet, but until then, we will be fossil-fuel culture for way into the future yet.

      As far as CO2 is concerned, the amount of carbon on our planet is neither created nor destroyed, but we may just be getting back to the atmospheric composition that occurred during the Cambrian and Jurassic periods. The gas content of bubbles trapped in “amber” and other sources has shown a CO2 content in the early atmosphere of between 3% and 6%, much higher than today. But the planet obviously survived, as did its life forms. So, I think much of this pollution hysteria is ill founded. We may simply be heading for (or being restored to) a more universally cloud-enshrouded, warmer planet.

      As far as oxides-of-nitrogen is concerned, there are many sources and always have been. Lightning in the ever-continuing thunderstorms around the world produces not only ozone (which we smell) but HUGE amounts of oxides-of-nitrogen, far more than all man-made sources. But NOx is still a local problem in smog generation (such as in Beijing and CA), and is one source (the other is, of course, CO2, which forms carbonic acid in lakes) of the acidity that comes down as acid rain in the Northeast. (Helicopters and planes have been dumping lime into many lakes to reduce that acidity.)

      ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOx

      ==========================

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Are they important? Yes.

    Do people think about them? No.

    CO2, CO, NOx are invisible and odorless – and we generally ignore what we can perceive with any of our senses.

    It is the kind of thing you don’t think about until you’re choking in a smog cloud, and then it’s too late.

    There are many people apparently that have forgotten how smog laden our cities use to be.

  • avatar
    frenzic

    I could not care less as long as there’s I don’t know how many airplanes burning stupendous amounts of fuel in a short amount of time let alone heavy industrial activity and tons of trucks doing the dirty work and keeping business supplied. I’m not feeling the least bit sorry driving a diesel with NO cat.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    What I care about is what causes modern cars to pee a little from the tailpipe upon accelerating away from a stop. When they’re temporarily nose-high they all tinkle a bit.

    Where’s that water coming from? That’s got to be rotting our exhaust systems when engines are shut off, no?

    That’s what I care about, Douglas.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Water is a product of the combustion process. To oversimplify dramatically, HC + O2 = CO2 + H2O. There is always steam in your exhaust. As it hits the cooler part of the exhaust system, it condenses.

      If you fully warm up your car, the exhaust system will stay warm enough that the condensation will evaporate once the engine is off and no more water is being added. But short trips can indeed leave water in the system. Modern exhausts are stainless in order to retard corrosion, but it still happens to cars used only for short trips.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      One of the by-products of hydrocarbon combustion is water.

  • avatar

    VW diesel car owners might argue that buying the car was based on the assumption that their car did comply with emission standards. It is not their fault that authorities did not perform adequate tests.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Many of them had an elitist attitude to driving these supposedly “cleaner” cars only to find out they actually polluted much more than gasoline-fired ICEs.

      Serves them right. It’s good to see these holier-than-thou fanatics humbled.

      My attitude was honed by the constant condemnation V8 lovers like myself have to suffer by these eco-friendly diesel-loving green-focks.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Please explain how an individuals choice to buy a vehicle has caused you to suffer.

        Also, I would be interested to know how many people you actually know that owns a passenger diesel vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          jr, it hasn’t caused ME to suffer. Why would I care? I love V8s. Own two of them currently. BIG V8s. 5.7L/350 cubic inches.

          How many people do I know that own a passenger diesel vehicle? The short answer is “none” that own any 2009 and up.

          Not at all popular in MY area of the Southwest. Nearest Audi/VW dealer is in El Paso, TX, 120 miles due South.

          But there are several retired military men who own classic old 240D M-B. But not many.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            “Why would I care?”

            That is the question. Your posts are generally condenscending towards people that choose differently than you. You don’t know anybody that owns a passenger diesel vehicle and yet your disdain seems to be toward those very people rather than the manufacture that scammed them. Just trying to understand if you’ve been victimized by one (hence your choice to use the word “suffer”) or if your just a douche bag.

            BTW, a 350 is not a big V8. It’s on the smaller end of the displacement spectrum in the V8 world. Low horsepower, even less torque. Not exactly a high mileage engine mostly due to its outdated design. The 6.0 has turned out to be a much better engine in terms of power and longevity. Gas mileage still sucks much like the 5.7.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            jr, I owned a 220D Euro-spec during the seventies. Kept it for roughly eight years I was stationed there. Didn’t worry about pollution then either.

            Sold it for more than what my dad had paid for it. Turned all that money back over to him too.

            My mom and dad used it for two years while cruising Europe visiting relatives in Germany and Portugal. Their home base was my residence at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg.

            Well, if you think that any V8 is not a big engine in today’s automotive environment where squirrel-engines abound? Suit yourself. I’m lucky to have such a magnificent all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC V8 engine in my Tundra and Sequoia!

            If Tundra came with a 6.0L engine, I would buy it. My philosophy is bigger is better and there is no replacement for displacement.

            Until 2008 all I owned and drove was Detroit. It wasn’t until I bought my wife a Highlander in 2008 that I became a believer in Toyota Quality and Durability, and converted.

            And who cares about gas mileage? I don’t. I am addicted to gas and have paid ANY price that they sold it for, including $5+ in CA, if I ran out of AZ gas. I use RegUnl as degreaser and automotive cleaning fluid.

            Maybe our perspectives and values differ. Maybe people who like squirrel engines and tiny diesels are too judgmental and condemning of people like me who like the more robust stuff and aren’t into being forced into Euro sardine cans and pregnant roller skates.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            highdesertcat – – –

            “Their home base was my residence at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg.”

            What years were you there? I was in Spinelli, Funari, Sullivan, and Benjamin Franklin Village between 1967 and 1969, before a quick trip to ‘Nam. You must have encountered Bill Westmoreland on occasion…

            ============

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NMGOM, I was stationed in Germany from Jun 1972 until Jan 8, 1980.

            Until we were assigned quarters at PHV, my wife and lived in the attic of my uncle’s house in Heidelberg. Luxurious is an understatement.

            I lived at PHV from 1 Oct 1972 to 1 Jan 1980.

            Gen Westmoreland was at MACV in Saigon when I was at Cam Rahn Bay and Tan Son Nhut all through 1967. I never saw him at Pruem, Hahn or Bitberg or other USAF bases where I was stationed or visited with the USAFE IG Team. Gen Creech and Gen Albritton I got to meet at the banquet when selected as Junior NCO of the year for USAFE.

            Back then, accompanied AF SSgt could choose to live in ANY military housing they chose.

            Both my wife and I had relatives in Germany but we chose Heidelberg’s PHV because my mom’s brother owned a M-B dealership there and managed the on-post Automotive Hobby Shop.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Highdesertcat – – –

            Wow. What a nice history you can look back upon.
            Guess I missed you by at least 3 years.
            We coulda’ shared “ein Bier” at the Brauhaus over in Trier.

            Thanks for your service….

            ==================

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NMGOM, Thank you, and the same for your service.

            It’s been a great life but the 20 years in the Air Force was just a prelude, a warm-up, to what was to follow after I retired in 1985.

            That’s when the rubber really dug into the road and I got traction. That’s when my life really began.

  • avatar

    Today’s cars are over 99% cleaner than 1960.

    I think PERCEPTION is the point with Volkswagen.

    VW has long passed itself off as the honest company, the company that cares. The green company, the brand that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

    And the marketing worked. Many who care about emissions would gravitate to Volkswagens, especially the TDIs.

    Now that trust has been broken. And if a suspicious Millennial generation turns on VW, they’re in deep trouble.

    Subaru, however, also carries a carefully-cultivated “we care” persona backed up with many PZEV models. They may be a beneficiary along with Honda.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    People likely care in VW’s case as these cars were marketed as “clean diesel”. VW believed that people cared. VW likely focus grouped the crap out of what marketing term to use for Diesel cars and came up with what sounded best to most people.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    A generally acceptable but challenging maximum emissions standard must be enforced at a bureaucratic level much higher than the consumer.

    It is natural for any animal, humans included, to exploit potential resources in a way in which they decide is most beneficial. Up until we came along, it is an unavoidable likelihood that every single sentient species will serve out it’s useful life and become extinct for any number of reasons…usually food/environment, a targeted disease or predation.

    Humans, I believe, are the first animal that can potentially perceive, mitigate and prevent non-imminent threats to their continued existence.

    I care about controlling emissions. I also love my 2.0 Turbo. I am reluctantly content letting democratically elected and knowledgeable (free press/speech state) governments set that standard. Reluctant only because I do not believe the standards can possibly be aggressive enough to make material changes in our environmental direction.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      “Humans, I believe, are the first animal that can potentially perceive, mitigate and prevent non-imminent threats to their continued existence.”

      Wishful thinking. But nice, nonetheless.

  • avatar
    Von

    The greens only care about emissions if it makes them feel superior. Now that they may be faced with the prospect of losing a few HP, then of course, they would never fix it. Because why should they be personally responsible and inconvenienced for the sake of the environment?

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      About the only thing useful from your post is that straw man you setup which I could use in my garden to keep the crows away.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Oh, I get it, Von,
      You read The Fountainhead sophomore year in the college your folks paid for in the hopes you’d be set up for a useful life. So now you get to feel superior to anyone with thoughts different from yours.

      Do us all a favor. Go to Caracas for a week and walk around. Breathe in deeply all the ‘freedom’ of cheap gas and no emissions regulations. Then come back and tell us how only greens care about emissions to make them feel superior.

    • 0 avatar
      Von

      Did you hear that? Sounds like a nerve strike.

      BTW Vogo, wrong on both counts of your assumptions about me. Although I shouldn’t expect anything else from the tone of that comment.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “The greens only care about emissions if it makes them feel superior. ”

      Right on, Von.

      Got that right.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        At some point, they exist mostly to justify themselves HDC. I saw this today:

        Data made public by the government watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com shows that the Environmental Protection Agency has no problem using millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase things made out of the very trees they vow to protect.

        The examples are astounding and caught the attention of The Washington Times, who awarded the EPA their Golden Hammer award this week for abusive government spending. For instance, a drawer that simply holds pencils was purchased for $813.57. (Wal-Mart sells them online for $10, as the Times points out, but apparently the government doesn’t have Internet access.)

        In total, $92.4 million has been spent over the last ten years to purchase top-quality hickory chairs and tables, plus the moving and storing of said items. And they’re not shopping at stores where everyday Americans shop, but contracting high-end retailers like Herman Miller and Knoll to have access to their expensive and museum-quality furnishings.

        How expensive? How about a hexagonal table sold for $5,539, or hickory chairs for $6,391. Some office chairs are $730 a piece.

        The EPA employs over 15,000 people and according to calculations, spends about $6000 per person on furniture alone, according to these figures.

        In one transaction, the watchdog group discovered that the EPA paid well over $70,000 just to move and store some furniture while carpet was replaced in an office.

        In addition to these figures, the Times lists several other instances where the EPA has found itself in hot water for abusing its power and involving itself in less-than-moral practices. Such as the time last year employees were asked to stop defecating in the hallways, or when it was discovered that “secret man caves” had been built for EPA contractors.

        And who could forget this summer when the EPA “accidentally” polluted the river systems across three Western states with contaminated mine water while they were trying to protect the area?

        So, while they’re busy discouraging Americans from using fire-burning stoves or wasting food because of climate change, chainsaws are busy chopping down new and exotic woods to offer them a place to sit and write the next round of crippling environmental regulations.

        http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/epa-hates-trees-spends-millions-wooden-furniture

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Don’t commit the association fallacy. The failings of the EPA, myriad though they be, do not invalidate its arguments.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Thanks, thelaine. Interesting read your comment.

          My wife’s sister who lives in Littleton, CO, and her family own some acreage along the Animas and San Juan Rivers.

          The King gold mine was actually closer to Silverton, CO, and the crud flowed downstream from there.

          I’m sure that the motivation in establishing the EPA was a noble one, but now that the environmentalists tree-huggers and green-freaks have gotten control over the agency, things have gone to hell in a hand bag.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          That’s just everyday corruption, clear and present in all Federal gov. branches.

          Blatant too. They buy a the same toilet seats we get from The Home Depot for $9.98, except their’s are from a *special* vendor at 10,000% markup each, then they split the proceeds under the table.

          That doesn’t mean VW is right, or wrongly singled out.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Where you live, you don’t have to go far to see all this excess. The Federal Center is fraught with waste and excess.

        • 0 avatar
          fvfvsix

          This is purely selfish, but… if my tax dollars have been spent keeping companies like Herman Miller and Knoll in business, then I’d totally consider that a worthwhile expenditure. I’m still eyeballing a pair of Seville chairs for my library, and at $5,000 a piece, I’m going to need Knoll to stay open a for some time.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I was/am a supporter of diesel as an alternative to hybrids. But this was when the impact on the environment/air was negligible. With the amount of exhaust from the VWs (and I fully expect all US diesel cars to wind up with similar results) then I have to temper my enthusiasm.

    As it stands, last Thursday I would have considered a TDI Jetta wagon. Today, I would not.

    If nothing else, Toyota should see a bump in Prius sales over the next few months in approximately the same volume as TDIs had been selling previously.

  • avatar
    dwford

    One entity that cares very much about emissions, and even more about being deceived is the federal government. You can expect the full weight of the EPA to come crashing down on VW. You’ve got a foreign automaker (German no less) and a violation of environmental laws (which the government seems to take more seriously than murder). There is no way the EPA just shrugs and allows non-compliant cars to continue to roll around. Does the EPA have the authority to compel the states to deny registration renewals to any TDI subject to a recall that hasn’t had it completed? I could see it happening.

    The whole “I love the environment, but I love my unmolested, illegally polluting Jetta even more” argument is childish on the part of owners and unlikely to be accepted.

    Will we see TDIs forceably removed from wailing owners by the government? We can only hope. Maybe in a few years we will get a movie “Who killed the diesel car?”

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    As others have stated, the actual harm in terms of pollution is miniscule in the scheme of things. Many TDI owners are probably numerate enough to understand that, and from that perspective there’s no reason to get worked up. The bigger problem will be if they feel they’re getting financially screwed by a combination of government response and VW’s buyback or repair program.

    On the other hand, there’s the damage to VW’s brand, which will be (and should be) long-lasting. Though weirdly, it’s actually a positive for their engineering prowess — afterall, it’s not as if they paid bribes or hacked the EPA’s computers to replace bad data with good. They made cars that could detect when they were being tested and actually be compliant during the test, but then use a different tune for more power and fuel economy the rest of the time.

    The real issues are:
    1) For the last ten years or so, ze Germans have been touting the new generation of turbo-diesels as being clean, responsive, more powerful and cheaper to run, to the point of being a have-your-cake-and-eat-it magic bullet. It seemed suspicious to me all along, and now appears to have been mostly a lie. So there will be a seismic shift in the diesel passenger car market.

    2) The EPA never figured out it was being tricked, for years, despite what ought to have been a pretty obvious risk that cars with computer-controlled everything could be programmed to game instrumented tests. I suspect we’re next going to find out that the sudden popularity of small turbo gas engines has to do with that same issue.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “And so I ask you: Do you care about emissions? Does emissions factor into your decision to buy a vehicle?”

    No, not particulately.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Pollution standards are an easy target because they deal with invisible gases so people make the “just a bit more wouldn’t kill anyone” argument or “it use to be a lot worse and we still all lived”.

    My dad was a vocal critic of the move to unleaded gasoline. He dismissed it as a liberal waste of money. It was just numbers by those over reacting scientists. Now, of course, we know that lead ion gasoline was a disaster. To refresh your memory just look at the blood lead content in children as measured by the CDC

    http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/data/Website_StateConfirmedByYear_1997_2013_10162014.htm

    NOx isn’t as toxic as lead but it still a risk to human health and we should take it seriously. Just because you can’t see it as an immediate risk doe not mean it is not a long term risk to your health.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    35MPH maximum speed limit on all roads in the country, problems solved. You’re welcome.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I care about emissions more than I care about on-track performance.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “And so I ask you: Do you care about emissions? Does emissions factor into your decision to buy a vehicle? Or do you just trust your federal regulators to take care of emissions regulation and enforcement for you?”

    Modern cars are extremely clean, however I don’t expect federal regulators to simply declare victory, go home and look for productive jobs in the private sector. They will continue to ratchet down allowable emission levels and declare things like CO2, otherwise known as plant food, as pollutants in order to justify their continued existence.

    So no, I don’t care much about emissions since the problem has been solved. Send the regulators home.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Send them home and you can expect backsliding, which is essentailly what VW did while covering it up. Agree on freezing emissions limits while concentrating on increasing efficiency.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    People do care about emissions but what can they truly do?

    Does govt truly listen to the general public? No.
    Do corporations? Heck NO!

    It’ll be interesting to see what type(s) of fix(es) that VW will recommend.

    Will the not-yet-revealed fix affect fuel efficiency that badly?

    a. If the diesel gets ~45mpg hwy but the fix will bring it down to ~40mpg, is it really that bad? Not really ~10% drop.

    b. If the diesel gets ~45mpg hwy but the fix will bring it down to ~35mpg, is it really that bad? Looks like it ~22% drop.

    c. City mileage.. that will vary.

    The performance should vary depending on the driver, the driving conditions and the affected vehicle.

    This VW issue will have crippled the value of its diesel vehicles. If the fuel efficiency may drop, for example, may than 10%, why not buy a regular gas car or a hybrid? What’s the point of a diesel then?

    If many people don’t buy the diesels, esp. the Used vehicles, there’s going to be lots of vehicles in the Used dealers lots and possibly many more going to the junk yard!

    Time for VW to focus on its Hybrid Jetta and e Golf and make it competitive against those of its competitors.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Doug – – –

    “How important really are emissions numbers?” They are not important.
    “So how much do we really care about emissions?” I don’t.
    “Do you care about emissions?” No.
    “Does emissions factor into your decision to buy a vehicle?” No.
    “…would we really be so quick to vilify Volkswagen if we didn’t care about emissions?” Yes**.

    This whole NOx thing belongs in CA. Yeah, a catalytic converter and vapor canister make sense, but going beyond that is silly considering that the % pollution effect from cars is dwarfed by the CA wild fires; underseas thermal vent emissions; coal-burning power plants; and gases from volcanoes of the world. Who are they kidding?

    “I’ve made it a point to cough in the general direction of every TDI Volkswagen I see.”
    That is rude, erroneous, and immature.

    ———-
    ** EPA is happy to oblige American car makers by destroying or diminishing evil German competition: it’s all political/financial. EPA knew about this 1.5 years ago: why announced now?
    ———-

    ==============================

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “EPA knew about this 1.5 years ago: why announced now?”

      It has been dealing with VW for over a year. VW offered excuses and performed an ineffective recall prior to this.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      You would care about emissions numbers if you could directly compare air quality in 1970 with air quality today, with or without any diesels. When Nixon signed the enabling legislation, smog left many cityviews looking like an aged sepia-tone print thanks to NOx. As a bonus you got to breathe it. It took longer to get rid of leaded gas. There were measured surface soil concentrations of lead at some busy intersections that were commercially viable for mining if only they went deep enough.
      I saw a comparison above indicating that between Tier 1 and today, NOx was reduced by a factor of 35 times and yet another indicating NOx limits went from 1.2 to 0.07 (something or others) or a factor of 17 times reduction. I don’t know which is correct, but it seems improbable that VW could screw up so badly that it couldn’t meet Tier 1imits (40/35). Or could they?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      If the EPA is going after companies to help out the domestics, why a bit player like VW? They might as well go after Suzuki while they’re at it.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    To answer Doug’s excellent question;

    Sure, I care about emissions, in the sense that I enjoy breathing. I trust the government in large part to regulate it.

    Sometimes you see a car that you know is way out of spec, but slips through the checks one way or another, and we notice, and we’re a little pissed.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m definitely in the I don’t care that much camp. I think auto emissions have long since been “clean enough”. There are other polluters that we should be spending our energy and money on, ships, trucks, locomotives, coal plants, etc.

    Amusingly, I commented on a post 4-5 years ago that I had long suspected that some companies were gaming the system in EXACTLY this way (though in relation to hybrids), and many on here poo-pooed me.

    Ultimately, NOX emissions are a major problem in a few small areas, and not much of a problem elsewhere at this point. I also don’t see why this is such a tremendous issue to fix. They have a program that detects when the car is being tested, and runs the engine with certain parameters such that is passes the test. Fix – re-program so it runs with those parameters all the time. How terrible can the effects really be? Ultimately ALL cars are programmed to pass the test, and likely emit far more in the real world. Just like VERY few drivers manage to meet or beat even the latest “corrected” EPA estimates for cars. Nobody drives like the test. Fuel consumption = emissions.

    Ultimately, we could all be driving 70+mpg cars tomorrow, if we were willing to accept 1980’s standards of size, performance, and safety. Much slower and lighter cars would be radically more efficient with modern tech. But no, we all want 300hp cars that get 30mpg while protecting us from our own stupidity. I just bought one, guilty as charged. But I would have been just as happy buying something that looked a lot like my 1984 VW Jetta GLI but with modern tech. A car that had 90hp and 30mpg. My M235i is a lot faster, but I am not sure it is actually a lot more fun.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’m just here for the return of the N/A Big block V8s.
    Nox-b-gone.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I understand how emissions on a grand scale and when looking at the country as a whole matter. In general, I don’t disagree with government attempts to clean up vehicle exhaust (CO2 excepted since I’m not convinced that man is responsible for climate change). I do think that VW is in trouble and should be punished however the law dictates that should happen. That all being said, going from macro to micro, as a consumer, I don’t give two sh*ts what my cars emissions are. I’m one person in a nation of 300 million on a planet of 6 billion This is half a million cars in a market that sells 30X that many every year. my car’s emissions aren’t even a rounding error. If I had a VW, I wouldn’t get the recall done. If I was in the market, I would look for one that hadn’t had it done, unless it somehow magically improves the cars performance and fuel mileage. Those are the two things that ultimately impact me so that’s all I will worry about.

  • avatar
    redav

    Damn, Doug, this makes you look like a real journalist. Good job.

    “I think the answer is actually yes, largely because this isn’t really about emissions. This is about a corporation doing an evil deed”

    I will disagree slightly here. Corporations don’t do these evil deeds unless their policies & procedures guide employees to do them. Rather, I suspect there were *individuals* in key decision-making roles within the corporation that caused this to happen. I also fault the general culture at VW that there were enough people willing to do this that it was not stopped.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    What I don’t understand is how were these cars passing the regular smog checks required in California every 4 years (AFAIK, the smog testers measure NOx)? Are the engines so new that they haven’t had to be smog-checked yet?

    I think about emissions every time I a clunker belching blue smoke. Also, IIRC, the NOx emissions–along with SOx emissions–are what causes ‘acid rain.’

  • avatar
    mcs

    Funny or Die: Jetta Breakup…

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/b296414db0/basic-girls-break-up-with-jettas

  • avatar
    George B

    I care enough about NOx emissions to want electronic multi-port fuel injection instead of carburetors, engine control computers that adjust the air/fuel ratio, and catalytic converters to clean up pollutants inherent in high-temperature combustion. I’m somewhat less enthusiastic about pre-cats mounted so close to the engine that they can cause catastrophic engine failure and having to deal with additional oxygen sensors to make engines marginally more clean at startup.

    My problem with what Volkswagen did is that they blatantly cheated to get a competitive advantage and then claimed superior “German engineering” and “clean diesel” during their victory lap. Even collected taxpayer money based on that lie. Sort of like how Lance Armstrong acted like a dick to everyone who questioned his drug tests, making lots of enemies before his eventual downfall.

  • avatar
    Chan

    As someone who has read about LA air pollution in the 1970s and 1980s (I wasn’t born until the 80s), and spent enough time in China to appreciate clean air, yes, I do care about emissions and yes, I am appalled that VW dared to do this.

    For a country where social responsibility is in any corporation’s charter by law (Germany), this is especially egregious.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I was born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA during that smog era. I remember smog.

      We’re a lot cleaner today than we were back then, but a lot of that has to do with a mandated reduction in industrial pollution from factories and power plants.

      I see Brazil, Indonesia, China and India as the biggest polluters of the planet, and their pollution blows all around the globe.

      America’s contribution to pollution is insignificant, if even mentionable at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Everyone’s pollution blows all around. China has four times the population, but “only” double the emissions of the U.S. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, the U.S. contributes to 16% of pollution, and puts out the highest pollution per capita of any developed nation (17.3 metric tons vs. China’s 7.2.) What sources are you using?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I’m not using any sources. I went by documentaries I saw and commentary on Bloomberg, NPR, NBR and PBS that showed actual deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia and the smog pollution in India and China.

          I thought they all were pretty objective in their reporting.

          That said, there’s very little pollution, if any, in my “open-skies” area, so I’m not at all concerned, nor do I care.

          If where I live had as much smog as Huntington Beach did during my adolescent years, yeah, I might be more concerned.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Those sources’ footage of deforestation and smog pollution are not mutually exclusive or contradictory to the USEA’s figures. All are correct in this case.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That’s the way I saw it too.

            But since there is very little, if any, pollution in MY area, other than wood-burning fireplaces on cold nights, I can’t get excited about the whole concept of “air pollution”, having lived in Huntington Beach, CA during my formative years. Now THAT was pollution!

            Yet in Albuquerque, there have been some instances where a ban on fireplaces was issued during no-wind days/nights. It can get pretty thick there if there is no wind blowing, on rare occasions.

            In MY area, people burn weeds, trash, whatever, pollute like hell, and it all dissipates in seconds. The benefits of living in the middle of nowhere and more and more people are attracted to that. Big influx of people from both coasts.

            When I still had my diesel AC generators, every Sunday at noon I would fire them up for about six hours run time at my house in the desert.

            And for six hours, black diesel soot plumes would blast from those exhausts.

            I also used to burn my trash in 50-gal drums, like many did, using old motor oil to fire the flames.

            So I think this concern is mostly driven by where a person lives, and the density of the population.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “So I think this concern is mostly driven by where a person lives, and the density of the population.”

            The solution to pollution is dilution.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Dan – – –

            The more poetic version I heard in the 1970’s was:
            “The Solution to Pollution is Dilution”.

            ===================

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            That’s our motto in Saskatchewan!

            I’m not fond of breathing smoke or unburned hydrocarbons though.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    i own a 2013 passat tdi.

    in the past week i have asked myself if i would have purchased it if i knew the mileage i would be getting and the level to which it polluted.

    the answer is no.

    the tailpipe is clean because nox is a gas not a soot. my car has the urea injection (scr) system to control (ha!) emissions. it’s likely that this system can be modified to adjust nox emissions with an ecu reflash. the result will be a loss of power and mileage in certain driving conditions (mostly rural hilly areas). this likely will make the expensive scr system more likely to fail.

    will i get the ‘solution’ in a state that does not mandate emissions testing? it will depend in part on the impact of the solution but likely yes.

    to get a sense of the difference that 40 TIMES the standard is consider this: if the horsepower was 40 times the stated value then the car you purchased with the stated 140 hp becomes 5600 hp. that’s like going from a jetta to a mid 1960s diesel locomotive.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Just a little clarification. If you have a 2.0 tdi with scr, then that’s “vehicle B” in the UVW report. Here’s the relevant quote from that report:

      “On the other hand, for Vehicle B 50% of the NO x emissions were observed to exceed the US-EPA Tier2-Bin5 standard by 5 to 20 times for the majority of the test routes.”

      So, 5 to 20 times, not 40 times.

      Pure speculation: because you have an scr system, VW can probably make your car compliant by running richer (more fuel use) and increasing DEF (aka adblue) use. I suppose they may also need to upgrade injectors and the scr subsystem if they are not up to par.

      Question: as a VW tdi owner, would you be OK with free DEF for life, an extended warranty, and monetary compensation for extra fuel use, in exchange for a software/hardware upgrade that makes your car compliant? I don’t have a tdi, so I can’t say for sure, but I think I would go for that type of deal if the numbers were right.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Emissions from car pipes is a classic “Tragedy of the Commons” problem. There’s no simple fix – especially given the De jure corruption and third-Worldization of much of our Regulatory State. Heck, here in True Blue NY State, old diesel pickups are emission test exempt.

    The current binary Pass/Fail model of Emission Testing is broken. Replace it (along with CAFE?!?) with an Emission Tax model. But limit the tax to a certain max – say $500 or a percentage of the vehicle’s value – and average – say $100. Scale the tax, based on emissions, exponentially.

    Most important: Reset emission STANDARDS based on a sampling of the CURRENT vehicle fleet – not some EPA pipehead fantasy. Preventing the Watermelon Lobby’s natural tendency to go pliers and blowtorch on drivers and businesses is a must.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      ihatetrees – – –

      Good thoughts, all.
      Actually, I love trees, which is why my CO2 emissions are no problem: trees love it. (^_^)…

      ==============

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Right, because all they need to grow is CO2. Just like how a human eating nothing but gummy worms is just as healthy as a human eating fruit, vegetables, bread, meat, dairy, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Drzhivago138 – – –

          I hope you realize that I was being a bit flippant!

          Green plants of course need water, sunlight, CO2, nitrates, phosphates, and some minerals from soil/rocks to be healthy …

          But the primary “building blocks” of cellulose are water and CO2.

          ==============

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Plants need water. Therefore, plants cannot be over-watered, because it isn’t possible to have too much of a good thing.

            Denier logic in action ain’t so logical.

  • avatar

    Care ? Good Question. Most pollution is not very visible for you when you make it. I recall as a kid in the Bronx, back in the leaded gas days, it was very smoggy.

    Burn Wood-huge particulates, etc…a wood burning stove is a mess. Classic, warm, great to stand in front of, but a mess. Go to a valley full of wood burners in the wrong weather, and you’ll wish for oil heat.

    Oil Heat-anyone paying attention ? I go through a few hundred gallons a winter…you probably do too.

    Gas-not as bad, as currently practiced..evaporation emissions are well controlled, engine management is almost perfect-you can get 400 hp, pass regulations, and get 20 mpg.

    Diesel-NOx is nasty and makes acid rain. You won’t smell it, but the change in pH wreaks havoc all throughout the food chain, on coral reefs, and for many forms of life. The US cares about NOx…the EU is all carbon all the time. Who is right ?

    Two strokes were banned-the only ones you can now buy are “off road use only”- motocross bikes. Even boats banned two strokes. My most recent snowblower is the same as my last snowblower, but the cheapo two stroke was replaced by a cheapo four stroke.

    For some light motorcycles and jet skis, the two stroke was a better engine, as it is hard to make a four stroke that doesn’t mind being inverted or run at severe angles. Makes me want to buy a clean-as in good shape-RD400 to park next to the Superjet. I admit fondness for a good ring-ding and some two stroke oil fragrance…Golden Spectro, anyone ?

    Even Mr. Eco-Crunch has a foot print, and thinking they don’t is delusional. The reality of your personal pollution isn’t going to change much because VW broke the law. I’m unhappy because VW has probably bombed my resale value, but beyond that, I just ordered new brakes.

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