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SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 27 • 2015
mental Protection Agency said Fri-
day that it will launch sweeping
changes to the way it tests for
diesel emissions after getting
duped by clandestine software in
Volkswagen cars for seven years.
In a letter to car manufacturers,
the EPA said it will add on-road
testing to its regimen, "using driv-
ing cycles and conditions that may
reasonably be expected to be
encountered in normal operation
and use, for the purposes of inves-
tigating a potential defeat device"
similar to the one used by Volk-
The testing would be in addition
to the standard emissions test cycles
already in place, the EPA said.
VW s sophisticated software
allowed its cars to pass tests in the
lab and then spew pollution into
the atmosphere while on the high-
The changes announced Friday
are designed to detect software and
other methods automakers might
use to rig a test.
"We re actually making sure that
this is a one-off," EPA Adminis-
trator Gina McCarthy said Friday.
The agency is going to "look at
all of the other models aggressively
and do the testing we need to make
sure there aren t any hidden soft-
ware devices or other ways they
could defeat the emission system,"
The revelations about VW led to
unwanted scrutiny for the EPA. Its
testing procedures have been crit-
icised for being predictable and
outdated, making it relatively easy
for VW to cheat.
EPA did not initially uncover the
problem; researchers at West Vir-
ginia University did, using on-road
testing that EPA did not.
Sen Bill Nelson, D-Fla, said he
was frustrated that regulatory agen-
cies such as the EPA are failing to
protect the public.
"Seven years is way too long a
time that the EPA has been asleep
at the switch," he said.
The VW case has similarities to
those involving General Motors
defective ignition switches and
Takata Corp s exploding air bag
inflators, where it also took years
before those problems were dis-
closed to consumers, Nelson said.
"When there is this kind of
deception, we ve got to get these
agencies to be able to cut through
it and catch it," he said.
Chris Grundler, head of the EPA s
office of transportation and air
quality, defended the agency s test-
ing procedures, noting that pas-
senger vehicles with diesel engines
account for far less than one per
cent of overall vehicle emissions of
nitrogen oxides and other pollu-
"It s not a question of equipment
or technology or capability. It s a
question of where we deploy those
resources," Grundler told reporters
The EPA has conducted on-road
testing on heavy duty trucks, rather
than passenger cars, "because that s
where the emissions are," he said.
The additional testing announced
Friday is part of a "continuous evo-
lution of our oversight" of new and
used cars and trucks, Grundler said.
VW has admitted to installing
so-called defeat devices on Volk-
swagen and Audi cars with four-
cylinder diesel engines.
The devices switch on pollution
controls when the cars are being
tested, but turn off the controls
when the software determines that
the cars are back on real roads.
The EPA says about 500,000 US
cars including the Jetta, Golf, Beetle,
Passat and Audi A3 have the cheat-
ing software, and VW says a total
of 11 million cars have it world-
VW was able to fool the EPA
because the agency only tested the
cars on treadmill-like devices called
dynamometers and didn t use
portable test equipment on real
roads. The software in the cars
engine-control computers checked
the speed, steering wheel position,
air pressure and other factors to
determine when dynamometer tests
were under way.
It then turned on pollution con-
trols that reduced the output of
nitrogen oxides that contribute to
smog and other pollution, the EPA
VW started the scheme with the
2009 model year, and may not have
been caught without testing per-
formed at West Virginia University
on behalf of the International
Council on Clean Transportation,
a non-profit group that advises
governments on regulations.
EPA and California regulators
confronted VW with those findings
to VW in May 2014.
The automaker eventually did a
recall late last year, without much
improvement, the EPA says.
Only when the EPA and the Cal-
ifornia Air Resources Board refused
to approve VW s 2016 diesel models
for sale did the company admit
earlier this month what it had done.
The EPA said the cars are safe
to drive but VW will have to pay
to recall and fix them. VW also
faces billions in fines.
Grundler says the EPA had
deferred to European regulators on
diesel emissions because diesels
make up half the cars in Europe.
The European Union became
Continues on Page 15
EPA to change diesel tests
to thwart VW-like cheating
Newly-appointed Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller, second left, with, from left, Bernd Osterloh, head of the workers' council, Berthold Huber, acting chairman of the supervisory board, Stefan
Weil, governor of German state Lower-Saxony and member of the supervisory board, and Wolfgang Porsche, member of the supervisory board, after a press statement following a meeting of
Volkswagen's supervisory board in Wolfsburg, Germany on Friday after CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday amid an emissions scandal. AP PHOTO
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