EPA Orders Volkswagen Recall Over Pollution

     (CN) – Blaming an icon of hippie culture for polluting the planet, the Environmental Protection Agency told Volkswagen to recall nearly 500,000 diesel cars – including its “People’s Car,” the Beetle – on Friday.
     Volkswagen tried to hoodwink emissions inspectors by installing “defeat-device” software on several of its models, the EPA said.
     Regulators said that through a sophisticated algorithm, the software kicks into full emissions-control mode only when it detects the vehicle is undergoing inspections.
     While the cars meet standards under laboratory settings, they spew nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times that limit on the road, the EPA said.
     Nitrogen oxide pollution has been linked to increased asthma attacks and deadly respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, the EPA said.
     Cynthia Giles, an assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, described this sort of “defeat device” as “illegal and a threat to public health” in a statement.
     “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules,” she said.
     Regulators notified Volkswagen’s executive vice president David Geanacopoulos and general manager Stuart Johnson via a notice of violation on Friday.
     Affected models include Volkswagen’s diesel versions of the Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3 and Golf manufactured between 2009 and 2014, as well as the 2014 and 2015 Passat.
     The California Air Resources Board has initiated its own investigation into Volkswagen’s alleged device as well and will issue what’s known as an “in-use compliance letter” to the automaker, the EPA said.
     Owners of the vehicles can continue to operate and resell the vehicles, which don’t pose a safety hazard to drivers, the agency added.
     Volkswagen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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