Friday funny – Fiddle me this

Josh writes: Volkswagen has been found cheating on US emissions tests, but with the Green Blob fiddling everything from Renewables to Global Temperatures, it’s no wonder they thought this was ok. Some like Stephen Glover at the UK’s Daily Mail blame green zealots directly.


Cartoons by Josh


148 thoughts on “Friday funny – Fiddle me this

    • climate-change sceptic such as the former
      even the UK’s Daily Mail article has a freudian agenda

  1. VW tried to optimise the fuel economy hence CO2 output.
    What must be done, must be done, to save the planet. If that included cheating on NOx measurements, then so be it…

    • They didn’t actually cheat on the measurement. It was valid and passed as required.
      What they did do was shut down some of the smog control process when not being tested.
      Diesels use urea injection to control NOX and partly this was done to reduce how often folks had to fill the urea tank (cost and annoyance factors).
      A simple software update will fix it, but then sales of urea are going to rise… I expect a strong black market in software archive copies…

      • I’m sure that performance and mpg both improved when the pollution control devices were shut off, allowing them to pass the fleet mpg minimums in the US. Owners are not going to be happy when their gas mileage goes down after the software fix, and the deisel doesn’t run as smoothly.
        Actually, as a non-owner I find this whole thing amusing; a fraudulant solution to a fraudulant problem.

      • What they really need to do is to add a button next to the gear changer:
        – Californian eco-freak mode
        – Drive-able mode

      • When distant regimes unanswerable to their subjects impose idiotic regulations to “solve” non-existent problems, the downtrodden peasants will find ways around the lunacy.

      • The problem, of course, is that VW’s engines under question don’t have urea tanks. It’s going to take more than an EPROM flash to fix this.

  2. They are now aiming for the entire car industry according to SKY news. I think UK, USA, Australia, Europe ect… have completely lost it. Your governments are destroying your countries for AGW

    • It’s possible to look at it in a different way Eliza (your closing sentence that is). This is a massively sophisticated stealth tax against car purchasers (not manufacturers), with the “taxation” being used to prop up certain middle-class employment numbers, and lower the numbers of cars on roads. The carmakers will still be profitable after passing on the “stealth tax” for new development of engine technology to consumers who figure out the system and stay rich.
      The upshot is that what they’re saying, as usual, is f*ck you poor people, walk, ride bikes or take public transportation, like we don’t. We do love you though, so please continue to vote for us, just don’t expect to ever own a car.
      … yeah, maybe you are right.

      • There are two problems with automobiles:
        1. People insist on buying new ones.
        2. Insurance costs.
        On #1:
        The `stealth tax` will only affect the purchasers of new vehicles, which only affects the relatively wealthy. The poor will do what the poor have always done, which is, fix the car themselves.
        On #2:
        There is no solution, and in general lifetime insurance costs are greater than purchase costs for a given `slightly used` low or mid-grade model car.
        I’m certainly not indicating that stricter emissions regulation does not negatively affect the automobile industry or does not drive purchaser prices higher. I’m simply arguing that `the poor` will most likely not be affected that much by the regulations.
        I grew up fixing cars with my father, and I fix them still… and it was a great father-son bonding experience. And one that I will pass on to the next generation as well.
        My grandparents lived through the 1930s Depression. A favorite phrase was, “What Great Depression??” … they were poor and Middle American farmers. And the poor economy at the time did not reach them, as they had not too far to fall.
        The moral:
        Poor people do not buy new cars. At least that’s been my experience.
        The more important question is related to the diminishing returns regarding emissions regulation. It’s likely that present day internal combustion engines are near the peak of possible `cleanliness`, and further regulation will provide no benefit only increased manufacturing costs. However, I firmly reject this particular issue as a class warfare issue.

    • Australia was heading in the direction with Abbott. Unfortunately, we now have a CAGW believer, Turnbull, in the driving seat. Australia, with a struggling economy and record house prices, is now doomed and that will be clear in Paris.

  3. My first reaction is to find the VW thing very funny indeed, but I guess there is a serious side to this for lots of people.
    What is intriguing me is the following
    (1) If passing the California Nox tests requires a seriously different engine management profile to that necessary to provide acceptable performance and fuel economy on the road, then re-chipping to pass the test now it’s all out in the open is going to make a lot of VW cars much less satisfactory to own and drive. If the situation in Europe is anything similar (the tests are different, but diesel penetration of the market is 50%+ rather than 3% as in Cal) then it will be a huge disaster.
    (2)The same dilemma of test v. road performance faces all manufacturers and I very much doubt that engine management systems VW has are that much different to other makers, combustion chemistry being what it is. I also doubt that VW’s competitors didn’t know what was being done (their R and D depts., and their commercial intelligence must be very deficient if they didn’t). So the question is, why didn’t they blow the whistle? And how are other marques achieving the test and road performance results needed if they aren’t following a similar strategy?
    So far as I know only BMW has flatly denied such a strategy and their share price is still way down.
    This is only incidentally related to climate change, but it’s a heck of an interesting story, isn’t it?

    • I find it amusing, because when the stricter emissions regulations were announced in the US a couple years ago, and GM and co were grumbling about how they would have to include expensive urea injection systems to pass, VW was pointed to as an example that meeting the regulations was possible without the extra emissions equipment. We now know that was a sham.

    • how are other marques achieving the test and road performance results needed
      vdub’s aren’t using “blutech”. the other manufacturers inject piss into the exhaust.
      they were going to call it golden tech, but though that might be too obvious, so they called it blue to match the blue toilet bowl additive people use in their homes.

  4. “This is only incidentally related to climate change, but it’s a heck of an interesting story, isn’t it?”
    It’s probably more related to phony climate change (please use the correct terminology) than you think. Many of the buyers of these cars were driven by thinking they were saving the planet through extended mileage. The truth is going to hurt.
    Disclaimer: I recently bought a VW GTI for my son (and me a bit). Great car.

    • GTI isn’t a diesel, so you’ll be okay. Unless the same philosophy of ‘test smart’ chipping has applied to petrol engines as well. That’s a thought. Petrol doesn’t have so much of a Nox problem, as I understand it, but there are other reasons to ‘fix’ tests…

      • That’s correct. Octane numbers for gasoline (US language) and cetane numbers for diesel go in opposite directions. The higher cetane number regulations were brought in to avoid soot/particulates in diesel exhausts. What could go wrong ?
        Google Youtube Keystone Cops ??

    • I own three vehicles. I like to think my old gassers are saving the planet. They all have 0% pollution—-when the ignition is off, which is 95% of the time. I would dare say my estimated 700K miles over 50 years has contributed less than one 777 flight to Paris. Why do I have three vehicles? Two as daily drivers and one for when AGW dumps a foot of snow on me. To paraphrase Charlton Heston: They will pry my steering wheel from my cold dead fingers.
      The VW Jetta is/was also available in diesel.

    • It’s very related to climate change because in VW’s home market, the EU, emissions limits are much stricter for CO2, than actual pollutants like NOx and SOx, as compared to the US. So when VW wanted to export their diesels which met EU emissions regulations to the US, they had to cheat in order to pass without having to completely redesign the engines.

  5. So, now in order not to emit the true contaminant NO2, they are going to have to reduce mileage and emit more CO2. Some heads are going to explode.

    • Yep, although given it’s the EPA, the percentage call would be that their NOx max levels are a complete fraud too. The further percentage call for me is that I can’t even be bothered to even research it. If it’s the EPA, it’s probably 97% certain that it’s fraudulent science.
      People dropping dead in the street from NOx poisoning, no doubt, especially climate refugees ?

      • Bingo. I’d be a lot more inclined to care if I thought that the required NO2 emissions were actually set with scientific support instead of pulled out of some green zealot’s backside at the EPA.
        Anyone remember the hilariously offensive advert for the VW Diesel Scirocco Top Gear did? It showed people running in the streets, panicked, and then said “VW Sciroco Diesel, Germany to Poland in one tank!”

    • NOx is only a problem in select areas like Los Angeles, Chicago and the Northwest corridor, and even then the problem is more intense on the “Ozone Action Days”. Volkswagen has aptly demonstrated that they have the ability to not only optimize their engines fuel consumption/CO2 as well as optimise for NOx emissions and even the ability to switch between the two modes, it shouldn’t be difficult to program the computers to change modes based on GPS info and or weather alert data to get the low NOx emissions where needed and good fuel mileage where it’s not.

  6. In the UK it is directly linked the ‘climate change’ scam as the Labour government encouraged diesels because it helped meet targets set by Kyoto and our government in Brussels to reduce CO2. Now they talk of putting higher taxes on diesels that are already in use, banning them from cities etc. Whenever governments meddle they usually mess up.

  7. This story is being told in different ways in different news sources. Some are taking delight in being confirmed in their view that business always cheats (i.e. capitalists are evil), which plays well with the CAGW crowd. Horse manure. Others are saying that this is an example of the difficult tradeoffs being required to “save the planet” being abused and frustrated, as the increased NOx emissions are “causing a health crisis in Europe’s cities”. Even more horse manure. (According to the European Environment Agency’s 2014 report on Air Quality in Europe, NOx emissions declined by 30% from 2003 to 2012.) The business pages probably are closer to being right. They report that it was a seemingly clever but ultimately foolish effort to gain a competitive advantage that, now discovered, could seriously harm the company. True. Only a tiny few are noting that the regulatory bodies in Europe and North America share a significant part of the blame for letting this scam go on so long, because they must not have checked the accuracy of their own testing. Bingo!

    • No getout for VW here. We should all try to obey the law, even if we object to the rationale behind it. If we don’t, we can’t really complain when others disobey or disrespect the laws we do agree with. The trouble is, for that to work the law has to command near-universal respect, and that is increasingly not the case, with so much legislation (e.g. by EPA in USA and by various technical arms of the European Commission over this side) being issued by fiat from bodies with little or no democratic control or review and with partisan and political aim. In UK we may get the chance to escape from the EU (pray we take it!) but how you in USA can escape the EPA might be even more difficult!

      • Have VW actually broken a law? They admit to cheating, agreed. If the law said they have to pass a test to be legal – and they did – then what is illegal about it?

      • I think that about sums up the situation. In the old days before digital engine controls and crazy 6+ exhaust system devices, some of which need to be periodically regenerated, one relatively simple dynamic test was enough to drive lower emissions to help fix city smog. Now, it’s WAY more complex, especially for Diesel cars and light trucks. The laws as written are now too simple.

  8. Is your Golf a little below Par? Is the story on your Polo a little too holy? Emissions testing? You’ve just got to get Pas..sat… 🙂

  9. Does anyone have a link to what tests VW was trying to circumvent? Specifically what levels?
    Also, anyone have any links to why NO2 is a pollutant – at what levels? Is it lighter than air or heavier?
    Just trying to be more educated.

    • I would be interested in the test criteria myself. Perhaps some impossibly low number completely divorced from reality?
      Fast Chemistry:
      NO2 + 02 –> NO + O3 (ozone)
      NO2+ H20 –> HNO3 (nitric acid) (+ H continuing in a reaction chain)
      There is a whole huge chemistry on NOx compounds.

  10. A gasoline engine has the problem that the air-fuel mixture has to be closely controlled. You live and die by the stoichiometric ratio and that is affected by everything.
    The problem with a diesel engine is to squirt some fuel into the cylinder at the right time. More fuel, up to a point, delivers more power. It sounds like a much simpler problem than for gasoline. What am I missing here?

    • You need to worry about the fuel-air mix with a diesel as well. A diesel has a much greater compression ratio than a gasoline engine. The higher pressure causes greater temperatures and both promote the formation of NOx. Running rich cools things down some and lessens NOx formation at the expense of power and economy. Running lean restores power, economy and NOx production. Running too lean gets things too hot and valves burn, and even pistons can get holes burnt through them.

      • NOx emission standards have driven Diesel CRs lower (down to ~16) though turbocharging offsets the CR drop somewhat.

    • Diesels operate at higher temperatures, and so are twice as efficient for the same fuel as gasoline engines (the Second Law of Thermodynamics). Hence diesels are the engine of choice for ships, trains (diesel engines drive generators that drive electric motors), and long-haul trucks. But at higher temperatures there are more NOx emissions, due to shifting the equilibrium N2 + O2 + heat = 2NO to the right (LeChatelier’s Principle). Gasoline engines (and jet engines) also produce this NO “naturally”. BTW, the “fresh” smell after a thunderstorm is due to trace amounts of NOx and O3 (ozone) produced during lightning strikes. The high voltage, high current bolts generate extremely high temperatures that break apart N2 and O2 molecules, forming highly reactive N and O atoms that combine with regular air molecules to form noxious compounds “naturally”. Note that legislators have not yet mandated lightning controls.

    • What you are missing is a knowledge of the evolution of diesel engines. 40 years ago diesels worked exactly as you say which is why buses and trucks pulled away leaving a cloud of black smoke behind them. This was a bad thing for the environment and for your pocket, that smoke is unburnt fuel and is costing you money.
      Modern diesels have computerized engine management systems linked to piezo electric injectors that squirt only as much fuel as is needed into the combustion chamber. This is very important if you want your vehicles to work economically and pass emission control tests.

    • Higher compression ratios for compression ignition engines means higher temperatures are possible; higher temps = greater Carnot cycle efficiency; higher temps (at power) means more nitrogen oxides (NOx) formed. Diesels do, gassers don’t (very much).
      Diesels are also easily turbocharged because only air is compressed. Increasing the manifold pressure by 15 psig effectively doubles the displacement. BUT, the peak combustion temps go WAY up and a whole family of nitrogen oxide byproducts form.
      CARB (and their lackys, the EPA) have edicted that NOx compounds must be reduced.

  11. Tens of thousands of EPA employees whose jobs are to insure that vehicle emissions of toxic gasses and particulate do not exceed what is stipulated by federal Statutes …. but they are too damn busy writing new restrictions, laws and statutes, …. obsessed with shutting down coal fired power generators …… and forcing “green” energy usage down the throats of the populace.

  12. It’s hard to respect regulatory imposition when it is patently bullcrap.
    I own a vehicle containing a Diesel ECOTECH engine manufactured in 2000 which gives me an impressive mpg, especially as I live in the country and hence drive mostly at a constant speed in a straight line.
    Here in the UK, we have a system by which the road tax for vehicles is set up as a series of thirteen “bands” of road tax for vehicles in order to incentivize choosing a high mpg (low grams of CO2/km) vehicle.
    Under this system my vehicle should seemingly qualify for a discount in road tax.
    BUT, included in the system is the bizarre requirement that my vehicle must be first registered after March 2001. No explanation is given.
    Hence, as a buyer of a high mpg diesel vehicle which perfectly fits my needs I am charged the old HIGH rate of £225 per year for road tax. I only drive about 4000 miles per year so my contribution to pollutant levels and CO2 via this car is relatively very small.
    My mother drives a Prius about 20,000 miles per year and therefore create far more pollution than I do. (Actually her mpg and mine do not significantly differ. So she produces approx 4 times the pollutants each year.) BUT – she pays NO road tax at all.
    Why am I being penalized for the fact that my car left the factory several months too early to qualify for the discount.
    On top of this observation, we already pay a tax which is precisely commensurate with the quantity of CO2 produced by our engines – because here in the UK we pay a high duty on every litre of fuel bought for road use. And since every litre of fuel completely combusted produces the same amount of CO2. (There are differences depending on whether the fuel is petrol or diesel)
    So the financial incentive for not excessively wasting expensive and highly taxed fuel already exists.
    And a punitive tax revenue from fuel guzzlers already existed.
    Hence, none of this silliness was necessary at all.
    Therefore, to any reasonable person the tax band system is both unfair and unreasonable and unnecessary.
    Once you have perceived that fact then it is hard to respect the regulatory imposition.
    If I could find a way to break the rules in order to make the situation for myself more fair and reasonable, then I would be very happy to break the rules.
    That’s the trouble with bullshit.
    People struggle to take it seriously.

    • indefatigablefrog September 25, 2015 at 5:36 am
      …. but, but, but, as a UK resident aren’t you just supposed to say “mustn’t grumble”??

      • We quit saying that in my household some years ago.
        These days I just, “piss and moan like an impotent jerk and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe.”
        Thanks to the Hollywood influence!!!

  13. 24 Sept: Guardian: Arthur Nelsen: UK, France and Germany lobbied for flawed car emissions tests, documents reveal
    Exclusive: Countries publicly calling for investigations into VW emissions rigging scandal have privately fought to keep loopholes in car tests for carbon emissions
    Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show the three countries lobbied the European commission to keep loopholes in car tests that would increase real world carbon dioxide emissions by 14% above those claimed…
    “It is unacceptable that governments which rightly demand an EU inquiry into the VW’s rigging of air pollution tests are simultaneously lobbying behind the scenes to continue the rigging of CO2 emissions tests,” said Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at the ***respected green thinktank, Transport and Environment (T&E). “CO2 regulations should not be weakened by the backdoor through test manipulations.”…
    25 Sept: JoanneNova: Camouflage illusions in the matrix: same mysterious temperature, same day, year after year

    • What is ‘extreme’ about the truth? Look, we know that the BBC and Grauniad have tried to outlaw the truth, all in the name of being ‘nice’, but ultimately deception always leads to evil. In reality, it is the BBC and the Grauniad who are the extremists, because deception will always result in increasing death and destruction.
      The USSR ultimately collapsed because not one single agency, company or person told the truth. Dissembling and fabrication was the only way to survive (a bit like modern ‘scientists’ weaving Climate Change into every ‘scientific’ paper, whether it is justifies
      dmor not). And the result was institutional incompetence, errors, lethargy, industrial decay, economic collapse, starvation and death. The people were only saved by Bush Wings** from those ‘horrible’ capitalists, who insist on telling the truth (sometimes….).
      ** chicken legs sent from the USA.

      • weaving Climate Change into every ‘scientific’ paper
        spot on. political correctness in action. as in the USSR, truth loses out to politics and collapse soon follows as no one can trust anything they hear.

  14. I think an important point is being missed: Volkswagen should be lavishly praised for its innovative solution to the climate crisis: it has managed fix a huge problem created by errant software (i.e climate models) with a very minor tweak of its own software. Bravo and well done!

    • The man certainly has a way with words:
      “Worthy, uncomfortable, and possibly quite unnecessary, a Prius is the motoring equivalent of a colonic irrigation. Whereas the car I drive – my Golf Four-Motion – is much closer in character to a really well administered blow job.”

      • more great stuff from Delingpole:
        “If we want to stand up to this tyranny, maybe the thing we should all do right now is to make sure the next car we buy is a VW. But obviously, only do this if you feel comfortable with the idea of buying a car that feels like oral sex. If the anal douche is more your kind of thing, stick with the Prius or, if you want the premium, bells-and-whistles experience, a Tesla.”

  15. What you are missing is CARB lives in a fantasy of that malignant old spider at the middle, Mary Nichols. We suffer from gasoline mixtures that return 10 percent less mileage in return for some paper reduction of emissions. i’m convinced CARB does not factor in this MPG reduction! They push into a very less than optimal running condition to have a marginal improvement in some emission aspect. This was especially bad with carbureted motorcycles fo the 1980’s, 1990’s 2000’s, that were so lean in the idle and slow circuits as to be really compromised. A rejet and richer needle (For Competition on Closed Course Only! wink wink) would fixed that. Fuel injection is now prevalent and has improved runability, even with Ducati’s.
    Every street legal or public land legal motorcycle sold here has to have elaborate equipment added to capture and return miniscule amounts of fuel vapor that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere. We are talking grams per month. This equipment (and the testing) adds something like $1000 to the price of a motorcycle. BTW, this is a cost that is spread out and borne by buyers in all the other states. And, of course, since motorcycles are not inspected in Kali after purchase, this vapor return system is routinely removed, some kind of aftermarket engine control unit and exhaust added. it’s a huge stupid waste.

  16. So they offer to plant a few trees, make a big donation to the green groups, and they’re good to go. That’s how it works in the Green Machine.

  17. There’s something more fundamental at play here as well.
    As with so many other issues that have come to light in recent years we have gone from physical evidence (in this case test the tailpipe emissions) to inspect (and trust) the output from the management system (in this case the car’s internal computer).
    When Ontario moved from an actual test of the exhaust gases to plugging into my OBDII port I thought it was bizarre and fraught with opportunities for tampering. But since then so many other things seem to be moving in the same direction.
    For example, if I recall correctly a large part of the recent ‘horse meat’ scandal in Europe was down to a move from meat inspectors actually sampling meat to checking the paper trails of previous inspections.
    And of course no need to mention the climate debate.

  18. It seems we have a choice to make: we can either control real pollution such as aeorosols which can form smog which is unpleasant and health-damaging, or we can control the fake pollution, CO2. The two are mutually-exclusive.

    • Yes, Bruce, spot-on. One must stretch the science envelope with fantasy to have it both ways. But enough faith in the new ecology will allow any paradox necessary. Public ignorance of science (beyond what the media dole out) is most of the reason they think both can be reduced simultaneously.

    • Well, not a hard choice, but a trade-off, and the trade-off that Diesel engines offer is simply the wrong one. Petrol engines are actually quite efficient now – the efficiency gap between them and Diesel engines has narrowed. At the same time, petrol engines seem to be much easier to operate cleanly. I had already eliminated Diesel from consideration for my next car – this story just confirms it.

      • Yes you are right and only thing which is convincing people to buy diesel now, especially in EU is tax punishment. Where gasoline is taxed more than diesel. Nothing more then market bending.

      • Diesels work best in ag equipment and towing vehicles. My V-8 diesel delivers better fuel economy and more torque at lower rpms than the V-10 gas alternative in Ford trucks. I would not think of having a diesel car because of the extra cost of the option and in oil changes, double batteries, etc.. I realize the longevity of trouble-free operation used to be the trade-off for the cost, but most gas engines will outlast the practical life of the vehicle nowadays (at 20k miles/year) anyway. For fleet vehicles used for constant steady-state highway use, and >150k miles/year, they still have a niche in the market.

      • Dawgtomis – yes, Diesels make sense in trucks and in agriculture. In those settings, NOx emissions are also less of an issue, since they will happen mostly or entirely outside the cities.

      • Turbo vehicles can correct performance at altitude to that of sea level. Turbo-Diesel cars are wunderbar in mountain towns.

      • Diesels work best
        diesels work best at constant load. gas engines are better suited to acceleration and deceleration.
        the theoretical efficiency of diesels is much higher than gas engines. in practice this needs to be reduced to improve the performance to weight ratio. In boats, trains and long haul freight the engine weight is a small portion of the total so diesels are the obvious choice. however, you don’t find many diesels in airplanes.

  19. Everyone’s panties are in a bunch because VW fudged the tests but no one is asking if any of this makes a particle difference in real world pollution of the air. We know that as far as AGW is concerned it isn’t eve a fart in a windstorm. For that matter, neither is AGW.

    • This isn’t about particulate. It’s about NOx and ozone formation, real pollution, which does make a difference. Just because the EPA has gone overboard doesn’t mean that all of their tests are necessarily bad.

    • Yes it matters in real life, here in California I can smell VW TDI from 20 yards. It is happening to me that I’m standing on red light, suddenly smelling diesel. I turn around and it is always some Passat, Jetta or Audi.
      When I went for vacation to Europe, after stepping out from Vienna Airport building my first notice was huge smell of diesels. Same in Bratislava. Funny is that locals are not feeling it anymore.

  20. Perfect timing for Paris. Suddenly, all the European car manufacturers face huge costs and/or a drop in sales because they are not ‘green’ after all and that pushing diesel was a huge strategic mistake. What’s the betting that the German negotiators at Paris will suddenly back off from pushing the CO2 message quite so hard. They now need to save their car industry!
    What sweet irony!

    • Germany has been protecting its auto industry for years. The U.S. has not protected its auto industry and now the industry is moving to Mexico and China with thousands of U.S. auto jobs already lost over the years.

  21. Could someone please post the numbers involved here, what’s the difference between the frigged test outputs of emissions and the actual under road use, just so that I can judge if this is a serious piece of deception or just to ease some numbers through a stupidly low requirement.

  22. I looked through the EPA test regs and the regs & explanation of OMBD II. The tests don’t even mention verifying that the engine controller is working properly. The tests don’t cover any real world conditions. The OMBD II regs mainly point out that the engine controller identifies when there appears to be a malfunction in the emissions system, which should then be checked out by a competent mechanic. The engine light may go out if the problem was a transient or corrects itself.
    The clean air act is the usual(now) horse pukey giving the EPA the authority to determine its own rules and regulations, with no real oversight by Congress.
    As best I can see a badly written law and poorly written regulations left a gaping hole in the actual requirements of how the engine controller was supposed to act,

    • There aren’t gaps in the regulation, simply in the testing.This is covered by blanket requirements banning deception, circumvention of requirements, and other such things. The most succinct of these is quoted below. In short, the requirement isn’t “you must pass the test”, but “you must not pollute”. The test is only the measurement.
      As the manufacturer had to certify that the tests were true, accurate, and that the cars met standards, every person who signed a form (plus every one of their bosses) can also be charged with perjury and falsification of documentation.
      40 CFR 61.19 Circumvention.
      No owner or operator shall build, erect, install, or use any article machine, equipment, process, or method, the use of which conceals an emission which would otherwise constitute a violation of an applicable standard. Such concealment includes, but is not limited to, the use of gaseous dilutants to achieve compliance with a visible emissions standard, and the piecemeal carrying out of an operation to avoid coverage by a standard that applies only to operations larger than a specified size.

  23. Sad and true.
    The Green Lobby (AGW), the Vatican, VW (Porche, Audi, BMW, Fiat …), FiFA … together show the corruption of the European Union and its member states officials, institutions and dear peoples.

    • Collectivist cheating might just be the behavioral response to chronic low growth in socialist systems. If the players know there is no growth down the line, they can get ahead by cheating instead. Such behavior is well learned in exporting and foreign deal making where cheating and kickbacks are taken to a high art form.

  24. Suddenly I realize why they might have got the scientific method wrong. I always thought Popper should have chosen a better word for attempting to prove a theory to be wrong:
    “We can, quite consistently, interpret natural laws or theories as genuine statements which are partially decidable, i.e. which are, for logical reasons, not verifiable but, in an asymmetrical way, falsifiable only: they are statements which are tested by being submitted to systematic attempts to falsify them.”
    No wonder the Green Blob seems to think that systematic falsification is OK within the scientific method!

    • It’s the nitrogen oxides (NOxs) formed from atmospheric nitrogen that are the subject matter here. This is caused by the higher temperatures used.
      The back story is that the higher cetane number diesel fuels were introduced to reduce soots/particulates, but they give lower mileages at normal engine temperatures.
      I posted this further up, but there’s some good data and background info in this Powerpoint pres.

      • NOx combines with VOCs to form ground level ozone. In fact, NOx is typically the rarest compound and thus the primary controlling factor in ozone formation, so yes, it’s a big deal. This is real pollution, not jumping at shadows.

      • benofhouston
        September 25, 2015 at 10:57 pm
        I don’t understand your comment. If NOx is the rarest compound, how can it be the controlling factor in ozone production.
        From wiki:
        biological sources emit an estimated 1150 teragrams of carbon per year in the form of VOCs. The majority of VOCs are produced by plants, the main compound being isoprene. The remainder are produced by animals, microbes, and fungi, such as molds.
        I have to doubt whether NOx from diesel vehicles is much of a problem when there is such massive biological production.
        Providing a sense of scale, a forest 62,000 km2 in area (the U.S. state of Pennsylvania) is estimated to emit 3,400,000 kilograms of terpenes on a typical August day during the growing season.</i)
        Make sure you rip out all those trees around Houston if you want to keep ozone production down.

  25. My apologies in advance for this long post, but bear with me as this addresses economic, political, and technical issues.
    There are a number of factors driving this event, some obvious, some not so much. The economics of vehicle building is one, but politics is much bigger at play than most people realize.
    1) In most European countries Diesel is taxed less than gasoline / petrol to subsidize the very vocal local trucking industry. Ergo the incentive to buy a car with higher mileage at a cheaper per liter / gallon cost. This drives the purchase of Diesel engines in SMALL cars. Plus the driving experience with lots of midrange torque is great, although modern turbocharged gas engines now start to approach or even beat small Diesels in that regard when you take their willingness to rev up quickly into account. Since Diesel has more energy content per gallon it still gives you superior RANGE on one tank. This is what drives the purchase of medium sized and larger sedans and station wagons in Europe by sales reps and executives. They don’t want to stop on the way to a meeting. SUVs in Europe are mainly powered by Diesel engines with the larger SUVs and sedans being powered by 6 cylinder Diesels. More than 70% of BMW vehicles are sold with Diesel engines. The higher priced the car, the higher the percentage of Diesel engines with the exception of sports cars.
    Also in play is the seasonal availability of Diesel and gas in various markets as Diesel is interchangeable with heating oil, still an important source for the heating of buildings in many countries. Diesel cars help oil companies get rid of what is essentially heating oil in the summer, thus balancing out their refineries.
    2) A carmaker has to pay great attention to the geographical distribution of their export markets. What are their regulatory regimes? The French (Citroen/Peugeot/Renault) and the Italians (mainly FIAT) sell mainly in their homelands or countries with a low regulatory burden, with the exception of FIAT in Argentina which takes its very strict emissions regulations from Brasil. In some of these countries Diesel engines are not permitted in small private vehicles. The are reserved for larger vehicles in agriculture / construction / logistics. The regulatory burden of the various markets drive vehicle design and engineering solutions, as do the positioning of each manufacturer’s cars in the market.
    The German car industry sells all over the world and its products typically command a somewhat premium price. A problem in this context are regulations that are hard to unify in one vehicle & engine combination.
    3. The allowed NOx emissions are quite a bit higher in the European Union than in the US, with California and a few other states following the example of CA allowing only half the NOx emissions that the US EPA allows. Many other countries have low or no emissions regulations, and if so they frequently are not enforced. In some of those countries the 3-way catalytic converters in gas powered vehicles or the catalytic converters in Diesel powered vehicles contain just the uncoated “brick” as the ceramic base of the catalytic converter is referred to. They contain no Palladium, Rhodium, or Platinum.
    Brussels is more concerned with CO2 emissions per km / mile driven than with NOx, on the surface a ploy to appease the Gods of Climate Change, in reality a hard fought battle between the French and Italian governments on one side and the German government on the other side.
    Germany on average produces larger, heavier, more powerful, more expensive, and more profitable cars than either France or Italy. The UK and Spain and other countries where vehicles are built & assembled do matter more in terms of political support in Brussels as their car industry is mainly owned by German / US / Indian / Japanese / South Korean Owners. That’s where the HQs are and that’s where decisions are being made.
    French & Italian manufacturers produce mainly smaller and lighter cars and less powerful cars. Thus they have an easier time meeting CO2 emissions per distance driven than German manufacturers whose products tend to sell at a higher price and are more profitable on a per car basis. German manufacturers are almost the only manufacturers that sell small displacement Diesel engines in the US, typically 2 liter engines. They also sell larger displacement Diesel engines, typically with a 3 liter displacement.
    A significant advantage of the German manufacturers is that they tend to have much cheaper financing cost, both to finance their own operations and in extending credit to their customers. This is partly a function of the more sound balance sheets and perceived technological advantage German manufacturers are credited with, but partly it is also a benefit from a better sovereign debt rating of the German government. The not unreasonable belief is that the German government would not let the auto industry go bankrupt without doing something about it.
    All these CO2 and NOx tests in Europe are completely unrealistic. In the US they are somewhat more realistic, but still need much improvement. Newer tests are going to be implemented in the next few years both in the EU and the USA, partly driven by the desire to sign a Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement, partly to reflect reality. This is being fought tooth and nail by the OEMs, the Original Equipment Manufacturers, i.e. the car companies.
    In addition there are all kinds of discussions behind the scenes in Brussels about credits to OEMs based on hybrid and electric vehicles sold. In this context in the USA Tesla is not so much an OEM that makes cars, it is more of a harvester of federal & state subsidies distributing money from the poor to the rich. Not that there cars are not superb.
    4. The markets in which these vehicles are sold either have no NOx limits, moderate ones (EU), tougher ones (USA EPA), or really tough ones (California and its fellow travelers). China will be switching from a low regulatory regime to limits mimicking those in the EU and the US by 2020. The question this poses for OEMs is how can I sell my cars and engines in all these markets at a profit and spread my costs over the maximum number of units, a metric that is extremely important in the very capital intensive car industry.
    Both the quality of gasoline and Diesel varies significantly across the various markets around the world which makes engine tuning harder. Sulphur poisoning of the catalytic converters is an additional ever present concern for the OEMs.
    This is where the various technical emissions control solutions come into play based on technical merits and economic feasibility:
    In most of the countries where vehicles are sold you nowadays have catalytic converters of various cost and efficiency geared towards legal emissions limits to control mainly CO and unburned hydrocarbons. CO2 is mainly determined by stoichiometry. NOx is more of a problem associated with Diesel engines. In order to get rid of NOx you need to implement a separate additional exhaust treatment solution.
    In Diesel engines above 2 liter displacement this is typically achieved by SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) aka urea injection. One trade name is “AdBlue”, which sounds better then “pee”. I am not entirely sure about the economics, as this tends to be a closely guarded secret, but besides being a more complex technical solution it may also be more expensive and thus not suited for smaller cars. In addition it requires more space, a further problem in smaller cars. In my Mercedes ML320 Bluetec the AdBlue tank sits in the place of the spare tire (ergo no spare tire and run-flat tires instead) and eats up 40 liters of space (10.57 US gallons).
    When the SCR solution was implemented it was difficult, not to mention expensive, to change vehicle design. Hence there was no external filler cap to refill the AdBlue tank. This is done through the trunk, and trust me, you do not want to have a spill of that stuff in your vehicle. The reason for the large size of the AdBlue tank is that it should last from one service to the next service, about 10k to 12k miles without the need to visit the dealer just to refill the AdBlue tank. Gas stations at the time did not have dedicated pumps where you could add urea. At least in Europe they are starting now, based on a mandate from Brussels, to put urea pumps at fuel stations. As a consequence you can now design new vehicles with SCR with smaller urea tanks and external filler caps. No dealer visits necessary anymore. You just fill it up at the refueling point. I am not sure though when this will be implemented throughout the EU (I don’t live there), but in the US you will just have to most likely buy a bottle of AdBlue and refill your tank that way.
    If you run out of urea in your tank the engine will either refuse to start after several more starts (which is supposed to let you get to a service station) or it severely reduces your torque by 25% or more, important to HDD (Heavy Duty Diesel) powered heavy trucks.
    Cars equipped with SCR would have engines that run VERY LEAN.
    The engines affected in the Volkswagen Group (here only VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda) are 1.2 L, 1.6 L, and 2.0 L Diesel engines. In the US I believe they only sell the 2.0 L, previously an older engine with 1.9 L displacement. All these engines would likely have LNT NOx treatment if any at all. Diesel engines BELOW 2 liters can use LNT (Lean NOx Trap) technology to control NOx. I assume that this technology is both cheaper and uses less space than SCR. You also need not worry about running empty with urea. But it is a compromise as the engine will switch between lean and rich mode. Thus it will not be as fuel efficient as an engine running in lean mode only. It may have other detriments as well with regard to performance, but I am not that sure of it. In order to maximize mileage VW ran them lean only, which explains the high NOx values.
    The way understand it, and I am not THAT firm on the technical details, the LNT treatment system includes an adsorption material, sponge like, that adsorbs the exhaust during the lean cycle. After maybe 30 seconds it switches to a rich cycle and injects more Diesel than necessary to power the car. During that longer lasting cycle (about 90 seconds, I believe) the “sponge” releases the exhaust air accumulated during the lean cycle and in some sort of stoichiometric treatment reduces the NOx.
    5. The problem for OEMs is to address all these issues (NOx & CO2) AND STILL MAKE MONEY. Increasingly that looks less feasible with Diesel engines in small and cheap cars unless they find a novel solution. In larger and more expensive vehicles DIESEL with SCR is still a viable solution, but you will have to spread your research funds over a much smaller number of units. Improvements in small gas powered turbocharged gasoline engines and mild hybrids will provide strong competition to Diesel. Increasing taxes in Europe on Diesel would help in that regard, but you will have a formidable opponent in the trucking industry. Electric cars will remain a niche product for years to come. Natural gas powered engines, either CNG or LNG, will increasingly enter the mix, although there are limitations for them when it comes to parking garages and ventilation due to the danger of explosions.
    And that’s the long of it! (Sorry I was not shorter). 🙂

  26. I could not agree more, yes VW are no different to the Governments, their agencies and the green blob. I was waiting to see how long before the whole fraud similarities came out. Stephen Glover wrote an excellent article.

  27. Sorry for being an inveterate skeptic, but this cannot be the whole story.
    You cannot have one company passing these tests with flying colours (VW) and everyone else failing or nearly failing. The difference would be stark and obvious.
    This means that all the other manufacturers MUST have been doing something similar. So if i was a trading and betting man, I would be shorting (on the stock market) all the car manufacturers that sell diesel cars.

  28. Europeans prefer diesel, Americans prefer gasoline – where have I heard that before?
    O yes, WW2, the USA thought that gasoline in Sherman tanks made perfect sense – along with thin armour and a weak gun. The Germans stuck with diesel (non flammable) and stronger armour.

    Still – the USA won so they must have been right, huh?

    • Glad you mentioned that. The story about Sherman tanks is flawed and does not get into the larger issue of fully capable U.S. tank killers with very big guns used in combination with Shermans tactically or attainment of air superiority that in some cases led to shredding of whole German tank groups. That is not even getting into the fundamental comparison problem of a Saddam Hussein-type leader in Berlin making all of the key decisions centrally and to the loss of tens of thousands of such heavy tanks on the eastern front among other places. But to your point, it’s also true that a different type of historical review would compile the strategic blunders of not using American technology that foreign forces picked early on in the Zero fighter, both Russian and German tank chassis, and carrier fleets in sea power. Each such blunder was associated with a U.S.-based inventor or outspoken advocate that was proved right in the end. History seems to focus on the major outcomes with a free pass to the blunders that made outcomes so much harder to attain. That is a shame.

      • Yes there was the M26 Pershing which evened things up a bit – Anthony Beevor in “Ardennes” describes whole German tank groups turning tail and fleeing from Pershings.

      • Of course, the American superiority in numbers and in the air told in the end. However, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Sherman was a wholly inadequate weapon.
        The Germans themselves had a similar experience when they invaded Russia – their Mark 3 and Mark 4 tanks were inferior to the T-34. They only prevailed (initially) due to air support and tactical advantages such as the use of radio communication within tank groups. They started building their more advanced tanks – Panther and Tiger – only in 1942 or some such. They were as good or better than the Russian tanks, but never produced in sufficient numbers.
        By the way, German tank general Hasso von Manteuffel, who fought both in the west and the east, preferred the lighter and more mobile Panther to the Tiger. Like the Sherman, it had a 75 mm gun, but a longer one with much higher muzzle velocity, which rendered it more effective. Mobility was probably not as good though as that of the Sherman.

      • phlogiston
        September 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm
        “Yes there was the M26 Pershing which evened things up a bit – Anthony Beevor in “Ardennes” describes whole German tank groups turning tail and fleeing from Pershings.”
        The reality of the Pershing’s action in WWII is much more modest:
        Twenty vehicles of the first batch were sent in Western Europe, landing at the Belgian port of Antwerp. They would be the only Pershings to see combat in World War Two, spread between the 3rd and 9th Armored Divisions, part of the First Army.[…] They drew their first blood in late February 1945 in the Roer river sector. A famous duel took place in March at Köln (Cologne).
        The Pershing was not introduced to the war earlier because the strategic plan was to let the Red Army occupy Berlin. Patton and other generals liked the maneuverability of the Sherman, and the streamlined supply line of one tank type – 50,000 manufactured – but the US generals could also rely on air power for virtual tactical air superiority, while US/UK heavy bombers pounded the German industrial heartland.
        The Germans were overwhelmed on both fronts by combined arms power of the western allies, and the issue of the tanks is not a decisive one at this stage of the war. The fact that the allies were able to prevail in the west with the Ronson-like Sherman (“lights every time”) is apt testimony to the supremacy of air power, a fact underlined in modern warfare with the establishment of “no-fly zones.”
        In August 1941 however, the Panzers had pulled up just 200 miles from the Bolshevik capital. At this stage of the war, the German panzer divisions seem to be queens of the battlefield, and nothing had been able to stop them. The road to Moscow was wide open, and the Heer, and Luftwaffe were still relatively intact, and unscathed. German tactical mastery of the battlefield was as yet unchallenged, and Stalin was still gathering and coordinating his far-flung forces. The decisive reserves from Siberia had yet to concentrate near Moscow. The T-34 and KV were available only in small numbers, the katyushas just coming online. The weather was fair, the rasputitisa still two months off, the Russians panicky.
        But now, with this golden chance to “kick in the door…” Hitler dithered, divided his forces, and sent them hither and yon. The chance to topple the “whole rotten structure” of the Bolsheviks passed from his grasp.
        The Ukranians hated the Bolsheviks. Why would the Germans alienate these potential allies?
        September 25, 2015 at 2:05 pm
        “…a Saddam Hussein-type leader in Berlin…”
        Ah, that must be it.

      • Steve P
        September 26, 2015 at 8:53 am
        The five erroneously italicized paragraphs beginning:
        “The Pershing was not introduced to the war earlier because the strategic plan was to let the Red Army occupy Berlin…”
        are mine, and not from the linked article.
        I failed to close italic tag and got the dreaded – r u n a w a y – i t a l i c – e f f e c t –
        ‘Sorry for any confusion.

      • Steve P
        With their numerical superiority the US could have sent in an army armed with wooden spears and bows and arrows and still won.
        This does not cover up the fact that the disastrous complacency of Lesley McNair caused thousands of tank crews to be sent needlessly to their deaths. The USAF bomb short-dropped on McNair’s head was one of the most positive contributions of the air arm to the Eurpoean campaign. Other than that no, according to Beevor and to German records, the air campaign, with its grossly exaggerated kill claims, was a severe nuisance at best but neither tactically nor strategically decisive. The Trenchard philosophy failed utterly in WW2.
        The US could have made 10 times more P26s and 5 times fewer M4s, and saved a few thousand American lives. If it were not for McNair.

        Yes I did see that Wiki article on the P26, and also thought it odd how Beevor described numerous engagements with P26’s in the Ardennes, when according to other sources they did not arrive till Feb-March 1945. Something does not add up.

      • “Something does not add up”
        That’s true not only about the M26, but also about the entire war.
        Even now, there are details about the war which remain classified, or are obscure. There’s also great deal of misinformation, and the tanks are no exception. In recent years, I’ve continually had to adjust my views about the war as new information has come available, such as evidence of highly placed Soviet agents in the U.S. administration, including close Roosevelt confidant Harry Hopkins, head of Lend Lease.
        With that kind of intrigue and treachery at the highest levels of the Roosevelt adminstration, all U.S. decisions related to the war must be viewed with renewed interest, and curiosity, if not skepticism, at the very least.
        Agreed that the Sherman lit up easily, and is considered poor when compared to German and Soviet rivals, but the M26 was heavy, underpowered, unreliable, and must be considered an unsuccesful design. It was 10 tens heavier than the Sherman, but used the same engine.
        A platoon of four T26E3s played an integral role in the 9th Armored Division’s dramatic capture of the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen… Some of the division’s other tanks were able to cross the bridge,but the T26E3s were too large and heavy to cross the damaged bridge and had to wait five days before getting across the river by barge. Europe’s bridges were in general not designed for heavy loads, which had been one of the original objections to sending a heavy tank to Europe. –Wiki

        Throughout the war, the Germans held a significant kill advantage over their Soviet tank opponents. The T-34 has a fearsome reputation, but its actual combat performance was poor because of numerous shortcomings in the turret design, lack of radio, poor optics, single periscope, cramped layout, and more, that reduced the situational awareness of the commander and crew to a dangerous level.
        The Soviets produced about 55,000 T-34s, but 82% were destroyed by the Germans, according to the link below:
        It’s also very interesting, that counter to what has been expressed in many histories of the war, the Soviets already had over 3000 T-34s in service by June 22, 1941, and a significant number of these tanks were concentrated in several potentially powerful armored units along their western front, according to this source:
        “For example, the 4th and 7th Tank Divisions, 6th Mechanised Corps, Western Special Military District had 238 T-34s and 114 KVs on strength on 22nd June 1941. The 8th and 32nd Tank Divisions, 4th Mechanised Corps, Kiev Special Military District had 313 T-34s and 99 KVs on strength on 22nd June 1941.”
        There are many myths about WWII. It seems I repeated a few of them here in my original post.

    • phlogiston Ah No! T-34 diesel, German Marks 1-4 Gas. Panther Gas Tigers 1&2 (king Tiger) gas.
      Biggest problem with the US “Sherman” was the low velocity 75 mm gun. Michael Wittman was done in by a 77 mm Canadian “Firefly” Sherman.
      Israel used up gunned (105mm) Shermans in the Yom Kippur War.
      It did great against the Japanese in WW2 and was so-so (with the 76mm high velocity gun) against the T-34 in the Korea.
      The Germans just built good tanks.

      • The Israelis had the best idea. They took the standard Sherman, pulled out the dinkey gas aero-engine, and replaced it with a Cummins diesel. Then they scrapped the peashooter pop-gun and put in a decent gun (French, surprise, surprise), and created the Super Sherman.
        And although the Super Sherman was still a poorly armoured light tank, it still went through Egyptian and Syrian T-34s like a knife through butter. (Although the superior skill of the crews was also a significant factor.)

      • So I was wrong about German tanks – they also used gas. I guess this is why form instance in the Ardennes they were able to use captured US gasoline.

      • Actually Zeke, the German people didn’t get to drive a VW until after WW2. Allied commanders were the first to be issued with a VW.

  29. The cities and states that have been harmed by ozone regs and test results over the years need to form a class action suit against VW and EPA. That would be for cheating by VW and chronic stupidity by EPA and regulatory enforcement that blocked job growth and imposed light rail nonsense on the public transport mode mix. That EPA action included job and investment destruction in poor areas that receive tax funds from other agencies in the EPA-targeted communities or even farming regions upwind from the central cities. Such is life in regulatory hell.

  30. This never would have happened if they had hired Richard Windsor as their senior climate executive. It would have been handled fully behind closed doors and with donor bundlers.

  31. You can’t help but feel that Volkswagen is being screwed, even if some of it is deserved. Certainly EPA never fudged on anything – or if they did, they took full accountability… er…

  32. Sigh,, this could get worst for VW and Germany. To trade freely inside the EU you to have an ISO certification. Soft ware falls under the areas of compliance. This also can bite their external auditors.
    Private companies do the certifications. At this moment VW’s CE mark may be void. Once people figure it out, other Countries and their car manufacturers can have a field day. Also for trade with the US and Canada ISO has been an agreement between all parties. It could get interesting
    Oh, and before I retired one of my hats was being an internal auditor. I was to find stuff before the External auditors did. We never ever hide anything, not with our certification at stake.

  33. That is one of the little tiny micetype caveats with command economies. Once the government commands a product and method of production, it’s false reporting and cooked books all the way down.
    For example, when China issued new agricultural methods for farmers to follow during the Great Leap, the reports of the success of the governments agricultural policy were glowing. Naturally. So much so, that China became an exporter of rice during one of the greatest famines this world has ever seen.
    But to this day, China claims that this was all because of natural disasters.
    It’s how command economies roll. Until they don’t.

    • The same applies to the CAFE standards. “Your mileage may vary” is even a joke in kids cartoons. Who thinks the exact mileage of cars and trucks can be guaranteed by government requirements and inspectors? How do you pass inspections in an arbitrary, complicated regulatory maze and tax environment? Go ahead. Guess.
      Maybe you can get a green imprimatur.***
      What about the claimed long life of the CFLs? Wasn’t that one of the reasons they were mandated in the first place? In the final analysis, all they ever come with is a one year warantee. I get incandescent lights to last for one year all of the time.
      That is a lot of ballast and volatilized mercury for one year of service. But it is green, toxic, complicated and expensive.
      ***Any resemblance to any Roman Pontifex Maximus, dead or living, is intentional.

  34. Here is another thing VW were completely disinterested in with it’s design and manufacturing of it’s products and customer care. Some decades ago now, VW changed how the crown wheel was attached to the differential carrier in the transaxle. They started to use larger, but weaker/softer (Cheaper) rivets to attach the crown wheel. Over time the cross shaft in the differential that carried the spider gears used to move and strike the two rivets in line with the cross shaft, wearing them away until the cross shaft was able to pop out of the differential and wear it’s way through the transaxle casing eventually causing a massive failure. Clearly a manufacturing fault but VW never honoured it’s warranty. So “customers” had a car that was busted, not covered by warranty and VW would not fix it even if you supplied (If you could get a transaxle case at all) the parts. These transaxles went in to other VW cars like the Passat, other makers like Audi, Seat etc etc. This went on for 20 or so years. Eventually there was a fix. A simple kit with bolts, washers and locking nuts to replace the rivets and two ring-clips to lock cross shat in place. Suffice to say, I will never buy a VW product again.

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