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Nearly a million illegal tons of smog resulted from VW's diesel cars

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 5, 2015
Volkwagen's diesel cars set air quality back by years, according to Autolist analysis.

"In reality, the VW cars were producing between 5 and 35 times the legal limit of .2 grams of nitrogen oxide per mile. As compared to their promises to consumers of a 'clean' vehicle, this demonstrates an increase of 175X," Autolist's report states.

Based on Autolist’s analysis, the cars were supposed to be emitting NOx gases at levels similar to a Honda Civic, a low emissions gasoline-powered vehicle. In reality, the VWs were producing smog equivalent to 20 Ford F-450 Super Duty trucks -- .084 kilograms of NOx per year.

"A Super Duty falls into class 4 trucks. They are between 10,000 to 14,000 pounds, and they are allowed under the law to produce up to .4 grams of NOx per mile. That's 10X the amount a Civic would pollute," Klein said.

For example, a Honda Civic being driven 12,000 miles a year would produce .00048 kilograms of NOx, according to Klein.

Klein took the .084 kilograms that the VWs were producing per year -- the same as 20 Super Duty trucks -- and the .00048 kilograms a low emissions vehicle should have produced and multiplied both by 11 million vehicles. That resulted in 924,000 metric tons of NOx for 20 trucks and 5,280 metric tons for the low emissions vehicles. He then subtracted the 5,280 tons that VWs should have been producing from the 924,000 tons they were actually producing and came up with 918,720 tons of NOx.

"When you replace one Honda Civic with 20 Ford F-450s 11 million times worldwide, the results are cataclysmic," Autolist's report states. "As opposed to producing 5,280 tons of air pollution each year, the car actually produced 924,000 tons each year worldwide. That's a difference of 918,720 tons of extra nitrogen oxide pollution."

Klein, who lives in the San Francisco Bay region, said he wrote the analysis because he's an environmentalist who is concerned about climate change and believes the public deserves the truth about the damage VW's deceit has caused.

"Being here in the Bay area, my favorite company in the world is Tesla... at intersection of automobiles and green technology," Klein said. "I think climate change is something we're combating."


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