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Study Suggests Millions of Over-polluting Diesels Still on Our Roads

The International Council on Clean Transportation or ICCT released a report that showed how the Dieselgate scandal is still affecting the environment and the global automotive industry. The non-profit used data collected from thousands of tests that were officially facilitated by the government in controlled settings.

Their findings indicated that about 13 million high-polluting diesel vehicles are still being driven on UK and European roads. Additionally, the council revealed that even if it has been around eight years since the diesel emissions scandal erupted, there are still around six million vehicles that emit suspicious volumes of NOx or nitrogen oxide. These diesel-powered vehicles, totalling around 200, were from various carmakers and bought from the years 2009 to 2019.

The report covered 1,400 tests and of these, approximately 77% were Euro 6 diesel vehicles while 85% were older models of the Euro 5 type. The vehicles released massive amounts of dangerous emissions, which is an indication that they were equipped with defeat devices. Euro 5 vehicles include the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Focus, the Clio from Renault, and Volkswagen’s Tiguan and Passat.

ICCT also based their study on 700,000 measurements of roadside emissions of diesel vehicles. Data was gathered from five countries in Europe. Despite the EU’s strict emissions policies and technologies initiated in recent years, millions of diesel vehicles are still emitting excessive volumes of dangerous, life-altering NOx gases.

The CJEU or Court of Justice of the European Union believes that the vehicles had defeat devices. These devices are used to control emissions during regulatory testing.

The results of the study proved to be useful for environmental charities and similar groups. They used the findings as evidence for their legal complaints addressed to the German, French, and UK governments. They accused their governments of not doing enough to reduce emissions and improve anti-pollution programs. Although authorities continue to recall affected vehicles, charities and groups have never had proof that the repairs are doing what they’re supposed to do.

With millions of diesel vehicles equipped with defeat devices still on the road, car owners and everyone exposed to NOx emissions are bound to suffer from various health impacts, such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Recalling the Dieselgate scandal

The Volkswagen Group has been in the news since September 2015 because of their alleged use of defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. According to US authorities, the carmaker knowingly sold Audi and VW cars in the American market. The devices reduced emissions artificially so that VW vehicles could easily pass regulatory testing conducted before a car can be sold.

Volkswagen admitted their illegal actions and recalled hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles upon the order of the California Air Resources Board or CARB. The carmaker was also asked to pay fines and fees. Over the years, they have spent billions in payoffs, including compensation for affected drivers.

Aside from Volkswagen, many other carmakers are implicated in the diesel emissions scandal. British car manufacturer Vauxhall is one of the manufacturers on the list. The KBA (German Federal Motor Transport Authority) was the first to discover the cheat devices. Over a million Vauxhall car owners are allegedly affected in the UK. Around 500,000 cars have been recalled. Emission claims brought against the carmaker have started.

Defeat devices have technology that allows them to sense when a vehicle is already in the lab and about to be evaluated. They automatically turn on the pollution controls to reduce emissions to the range mandated by the authorities. Thus, the vehicles will appear safe and emissions-compliant in the eyes of regulators.

This is temporary, though, as the emissions compliance is good only during testing. Once the vehicle is used outside regulatory testing conditions, it once again emits alarming levels of NOx.

As such, Vauxhall and all the other carmakers using defeat devices lied to their customers. They made car owners believe that the vehicles they purchased were efficient and environmentally friendly. Instead of ensuring the safety of their customers, these carmakers prioritised profit-making.

NOx emissions’ health impacts

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) are the main components of nitrogen oxide. These are what help NOx produce pollutants such as ground-level ozone, as well as acid rain and smog. Exposure to NOx emissions can also weaken and damage vegetation.

The most significant impacts, however, are on human health. Aside from asthma and other respiratory diseases, being exposed to NOx emissions can also hound you with the following conditions:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Weakened cognitive health that can lead to dementia
  • Cancer
  • Asphyxiation and laryngospasm
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

These are serious impacts that can threaten your life. Your carmaker should be held responsible for the inconveniences you are going through. Bringing a diesel claim levelled against them should be the first thing on your to-do list.

How do I start my diesel claim?

A diesel claim is legal action that you file against the company that made your vehicle so they can compensate you rightfully. However, since not all diesel vehicles are equipped with defeat devices, your first action should be to find out if you are eligible to file a claim and receive compensation.

Simply visit Emissions.co.uk and get all the information they have on filing an emission claim. Once you’re good to go, start working on your claim with an emissions expert.

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