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Volkswagen Ordered to Recall Half a Million Cars After It Cheated on Smog Checks

The Obama administration announced today that it was ordering Volkswagen to recall 482,000 cars sold between 2009 and 2015. The EPA alleges that the cars were designed to intentionally mislead smog emissions testing equipment, using special software installed in the cars.

According to the EPA, almost half a million cars were equipped with a device that could detect when it was undergoing an emissions test. And the EPA says that this “defeat device” would only run the car at peak efficiency during these times. Which is to say that when the car wasn’t being smog-tested, it was polluting a lot more than during the tests.

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, E.P.A. is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. E.P.A. will continue to investigate these very serious violations.”

The software was designed to conceal the cars’ emissions of the pollutant nitrogen oxide, which contributes to the creation of ozone and smog. The pollutants are linked to a range of health problems, including asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.

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Courtesy of The New York Times