Fuel emissions from cars are a major source of air pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and other greenhouse gases.
Air pollution poses adverse effects to human beings, animals and the environment. The pollutants are discharged when manufacturing the vehicles, during vehicle operation, and during disposal of dead vehicles. Through programs such as auto recycling and using clean energy sources, societies are able to minimize emission of pollutants.
For this reason, most states, through environmental regulation organizations have been advocating for a reduction in vehicle emissions. Environmental protection agencies have set a maximum pollution rate that all vehicle manufacturers should observe when designing vehicles.
The regulations have seen most automotive companies to focus on using clean energy alternatives like electricity to comply with the National Environmental Protection agency. Companies that do not comply with the regulations are sanctioned.
Even after redesigning the vehicles to emit less environmental pollutants, those that were manufactured earlier continue to emit the toxic substances. Stakeholders in the automotive industry have been purchasing back the vehicles for recycling or renovation.
However, some companies have been found to continue with the manufacture of diesel vehicles that do not comply with the legal pollution standards.Volkswagen, the second largest car manufacturer in the world, is one of the businesses that has been sued and sanctioned for not complying with the U.S environmental pollution standards.
In a lawsuit, VW was accused of manufacturing over 475,000 diesel vehicles that emitted 40 times more pollutants than the standard pollution levels. The models built within 2009 and 2015 include Golf, Jetta, and Audi A3.
Volkswagen management pledged guilty of using software to tamper with emissions equipment used by the U.S emissions standard in testing exhaust emissions. During the testing, the vehicles were shown to release lower pollutants. It was later discovered that the vehicles emitted a high amount of pollutants from a research carried out in a university in Virginia.
Since then, Volkswagen Company has been struggling in a court battle to settle the scandal, which saw it loose its reputation.
Following a lawsuit filed by the vehicle owners, the state of California and the Environmental protection agency, the company was sanctioned to make settlements of $14. 7billion. This was the highest amount that has ever been sanctioned to any cooperate in the automotive industry.
Speaking after the approval of the settlement, Hinrich Woebcken, Volkswagen’s senior officer said that the approval was a significant achievement for the company. He added that their business would work to comply with the United States’ environmental regulations.
Car owners who owned those diesel vehicles said that the sanction was not enough to compensate them. However, Judge Charles Breyer disputed their plea on the ground that the amount was sufficient to pay them plus an additional compensation of more than $5, 100.
The $14.7 settlement was arrived at after Volkswagen admitted that their vehicles emitted excess pollutants. As a result, they agreed to buy back the diesel vehicles, compensate the owners and then embark on clean car projects like electric and zero emission vehicles. Part of the money could be used to indemnify the emissions from their vehicles.
Volkswagen to Pay More Penalties
The automotive company would spend $1.8 billion to offset additional expenses like compensating car dealers, paying fines imposed by various states, and paying the prosecutor’s attorney fees.
The amount may still increase due to state fines, and pending allegations of deliberately breaking environmental regulation laws.
Still, the company is facing allegations concerning other 85,000 vehicles that release nine times more emissions compared to the legal pollution measures. The company is expected to offer a report on how they will spend on buying back the vehicles and compensate the owners.
According to the lawsuit, the company should purchase back 75% of the vehicles by 2019 to avoid more penalties. Other not- compliant companies may face higher sanctions as a way of curbing the menace from environmental vehicle pollution.
Human and environmental health should be at heart for every person. Environmental pollution is known to increase after every year. Pollutant spoils the natural ecosystem like air, water, and land. People depend on these resources to survive.Investing in clean energy vehicles and recycling old vehicles is one of the best ways of controlling vehicle pollution.