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Volkswagen emissions cheating may have significant environmental and health consequences, experts say

Volkswagen’s recent announcement that it would recall millions of VW and Audi diesel-powered vehicles over an emissions cheating scandal may have repercussions beyond the effect on vehicle owners. Environmental experts say that the VW diesel scandal may also have significant consequences for the planet as well.

The revelation that Volkswagen had installed a software “defeat device” on VW and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” vehicles designed to hide the high emissions levels of these models came to light after researchers conducted a thorough investigation into the performance of these cars. Experts found that the TDI models emitted levels of the pollutant nitrogen oxide that were 40 times higher than the maximum allowed under the Clean Air Act. Not only has nitrogen oxide been shown to contribute to global warming, it has also been linked to dozens of serious health conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Reports have estimated that the Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles involved in the Dieselgate scandal emitted about 1 million tons of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere every year. The resports suggest that during the seven years that these vehicles were on the road, the excess pollution they produced was responsible for between 16 and 94 deaths in the U.S. alone due to health conditions caused by air pollution. Experts estimate that the total cost to the economy from the excess pollution from VW and Audi TDI diesel was between $40 million and $170 million.

Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, says that “even the small increase in [nitrogen oxide] from VW diesel emissions is likely to have worsened pollution along the roadways where they have traveled, and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. To say millions of people of people are breathing poor air as the result of that is not off the mark.”

Although Volkswagen has stated that it will formulate a plan to fix the emissions issue with the TDI diesel vehicles, no repair or adjustment can undo the significant environmental damage caused by the company’s fraudulent actions. While experts say that it is impossible to attribute individual deaths from air pollution to Volkswagen or Audi vehicles, undoubtedly VW’s emissions cheating has had significant impacts on the environment and public health.

Lawsuits Filed Against Volkswagen Over Dieselgate Scandal

Volkswagen announced in September 2015 that it would recall about 11 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide, including nearly 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. The company admitted that it had installed a “defeat device” on millions of Volkswagen and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models. This software device enabled Volkswagen’s diesel engines to evade emissions testing limits, enabling the vehicles to pass inspection even though they emitted as much as dozens of times more pollutants than allowed under federal law.

The vehicles included in the Volkswagen diesel recall include the 2009-2015 VW Jetta TDI, the 2009-2014 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI, the 2010-2015 VW Golf TDI, the 2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI, the 2012-2015 VW Beetle TDI and Beetle Convertible TDI, the 2012-2015 VW Passat TDI, and the 2009-2015 Audi A3. Further investigation into the Volkswagen scandal may reveal that additional VW or Audi models are also affected by the diesel engine emissions issue.

Numerous commercial fraud lawsuits and class action litigation claims have already been filed against Volkswagen by VW and Audi owners nationwide. Legal experts predict that the German automaker could face billions in legal liability and EPA fines as a result of its fraudulent claims regarding the performance and emissions of the recalled TDI vehicles. Consumers who purchased or leased one of the Volkswagen or Audi “clean diesel” vehicles involved in the emissions scandal may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their vehicle.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson has already filed more than a dozen lawsuits on behalf of Volkswagen and Audi diesel-powered vehicle owners. If you purchased or leased a VW or Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” model, contact our office to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.

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