The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Diesel Was Almost Too Clean!

Sep 28, 2015

Auto giant Volkswagen is accused of having deliberately bypassed U. S. pollution tests for diesel engines it claimed were almost non-polluting. Only this allowed them to stay below the allowable levels of pollution.

Since 2009, Volkswagen has been carrying out this fraud by equipping the cars with software programmed to activate an internal mechanism to limit the amount of pollution in a car’s emissions while it was being tested. The software would then de-activate that mechanism when the test was over. This system allowed the cars to emit about 40 times the amount of pollutants authorized by law, and still pass the tests.

Volkswagen management, which has constantly bragged about the merits of its “Clean Diesel” in its ads, can only express its “profound regrets.” It has stopped the sale of diesel vehicles in the US–and will recall almost 500,000 vehicles, and maybe pay a big fine for this obvious fraud.

Volkswagen was caught with its hand in the cookie jar, and now admits that this system was installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide. But auto industry experts think that Volkswagen probably isn’t the only company to carry out this type of fraud, because it’s very easy to do.

And even when they don’t break the law, the auto companies use many strategies that allow them to produce vehicles much more polluting than they claim. This is because the government’s tests are carried out in laboratories and show cars consuming much less fuel and emitting much less pollution than they do in the course of normal use. Many independent studies have shown a big gap between these lab results and real life. When it comes to air pollution, real cars can produce between five and twenty times as much air pollution as the lab tests indicate.

In auto, as in every other industry, the main concern is not the health and safety of the consumers, nor the preservation of the atmosphere. It is profit. Auto companies accumulate their billions, not only by exploiting their workers, but also by duping consumers. All with the help of the government.