Log in | Subscribe | RSS feed

What’s New

US EPA corrects fuel economy estimates for Volkswagen vehicles

5 September 2019

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised fuel economy label values for a number of 2013-2017 Audi, Bentley, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles. The Volkswagen Group will also forfeit its GHG emissions and CAFE credits to account for under-reporting of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

In a related development, Volkswagen has reached a court settlement to reimburse the affected customers, according to media reports. Pending court approval, Volkswagen will pay drivers a total of $96.5 million—between $518.40 and $2,332.80 per vehicle—as well as an additional $26 million in attorney’s fees and costs.

The issue was discovered by the US EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in the course of the investigation concerning defeat devices in Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles. The two agencies also tested a number of gasoline vehicles, and discovered that Volkswagen employed cycle-beating software to manage vehicle transmissions. This software caused the transmission to shift gears during the EPA-prescribed emissions test in a manner that sometimes optimized fuel economy and GHG emissions during the test, but not under normal driving conditions.

The company employed this software in roughly one million light-duty gasoline vehicles from model years 2013 through 2017 sold by Volkswagen in the United States under the brand names Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Bentley.

The EPA required Volkswagen to estimate the emissions and fuel economy impact of the software through extensive testing and other methods. Based on these investigations, Volkswagen found that deactivation of the software resulted in an impact to fuel economy on roughly 98,000 vehicles of approximately one mile per gallon. The list of models with revised fuel economy ratings—and eligible for compensation—include versions of the Audi A8, Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, Porsche Cayenne, as well as VW Touareg and Tiguan 4MOTION.

Just as Volkswagen over-stated the fuel economy of these vehicles, the company under-stated GHG emissions by approximately 220,000 tonnes. To account for these discrepancies Volkswagen will forfeit approximately 220,000 GHG emission credits under EPA’s light-duty GHG emissions standard program. Volkswagen will also forfeit credits in the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The exact amount of credits will be subject to approval by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Source: US EPA | Reuters