The floodgates were opened in September of 2015 when the news went public that Volkswagen had been installing a defeat device in their small diesel engines for years. This diesel scandal and the findings from a university in West Virginia opened our eyes to the fact that the testing from the EPA was easy to defeat and get around which led to these engines emitting as much as forty times the allowable amount of emissions into the atmosphere which led to the largest recall and financial costs that any automaker has ever faced with many of these vehicles being bought back by Volkswagen.
With this scandal, nearly every other automakers that produces any diesel powered passenger vehicles started to be looked at to determine if they had been cheating as well. The embarrassment of the EPA has caused the positive change, which is to have the testing procedures changed to the point of no longer being as transparent in the procedures. Now, vehicles are road tested as well as being dyno tested in order to create a more comprehensive process to determine whether or not vehicles will be able to be approved for the road.
In the US, the emissions regulations are stricter than in other countries around the world. This makes it harder for automakers to have diesel models on the market for us to drive because we require stricter and more stringent regulations in order to have vehicles that meet the standards set by our regulatory bodies. The EPA isn’t the only organization that reviews and tests vehicles to makes sure they are right for the road, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also involved and has its own set of rules and strict guidelines as well to help make sure the cars on the road meet the standards needed.
Because of the new testing and the increase in strict requirements, some automakers aren’t going to seek out approval to have their diesel vehicles approved in the US in the future, thus possibly sparking a new diesel scandal. That’s not the news that has caught our attention though; it seems there may be another German automaker that will be looked at as a possible violator of the regulations to have their vehicles reviewed. While we haven’t been given any evidence to tell us that the brand is guilty, Mercedes-Benz may be on the hook next as the company that has installed emissions tampering items in diesel vehicles sold in the US.
Currently, this brand is under investigation by the US Justice Department, EPA and CARB in the US with an additional investigation taking place in Germany for this possibility. If this investigation shows the brand was tampering with emissions and also cheated on the testing, there could be significant penalties and require a variety of recalls that would be costly. We’ll know more as this investigation moves forward, and it may be found that Mercedes-Benz was in the wrong, but don’t assume that just yet. Hopefully we’ll have some good news to report, but for now, this company will not sell diesel models in the US going forward.