Volkswagen Dieselgate Not First Emissions Cheating Scandal in U.S.

By Jesse Sokolow on 20 October 2015
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DSC_0246 (1)While the Volkswagen emissions scandal has been in automotive and business headlines for over a month, it isn’t the first.

In October 1998, the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced a record $83.4 million fine against makers of diesel engines. Seven makers of diesel engines for trucks – among them Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack Trucks, Navistar, and Volvo – had installed defeat devices in the software monitoring the emissions of heavy trucks.The seven sold 1.3 million heavy-duty diesel engines with the defeat devices that allowed the engine to pass EPA emissions tests and turned off emissions controls during highway driving.

At the time, the emissions from these engines were found to be as much as three times the permitted levels. The EPA said that the settlement was the largest civil penalty to date and that the settlement would prevent 75 million tons of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions nationwide by 2025. The EPA also said that the seven companies would spend more than one billion dollars to resolve the problem and bring the engines into compliance.

In the 1990s, Ford Motor Company and American Honda Motor Company both paid fines after having il­legally sold ve­hicles and engines equipped with defeat devices that prevented emission-control systems from working as required.

The Honda case involved 1.6 million 1996 and 1997 Accords, Civics, Preludes, Odysseys, and Acuras, as well as 1995 Honda Civics, while Ford had installed systems to defeat emission-controls in 60,000 1997 Ford Econoline vans.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)