EPA, California Accuse VW of Clean Air Act Violations
"Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen's efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action," CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said.
EPA has issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., alleging that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that evades EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California separately issued an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have opened investigations.
"Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters."
"Working with US EPA we are taking this important step to protect public health thanks to the dogged investigations by our laboratory scientists and staff," CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey added. "Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen's efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action."
EPA's notice alleges that a sophisticated software algorithm on about 482,000 vehicles sold in the United States since 2008 detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing and turns the vehicle's full emissions controls on only during the test. This means the vehicles' emission control devices are much less effective during normal driving situations: EPA claims the vehicles meet emissions standards in a laboratory or testing station but emit nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the standard while on the road. The agency claims the software produced by Volkswagen is a "defeat device," as defined by the Clean Air Act.