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VOLKSWAGEN “DIESELGATE” COULD HAVE CAUSED 106 DEATH

The following story was posted online this morning through www.autoguidenow.com

It’s bloody typical of the USA that when a company that isn’t one of its own does something wrong, that they lambast them. Associate Professor Noelle Selin from M.I.T suggests that Volkswagen ‘could’ be responsible for up to 124 deaths based on the actual diesel emissions from VW Diesel engines. Let’s forget about 7.6 litre diesel engines, that the Ford F Series is the biggest selling individual name plate in America (The sell more of these annually than that our entire auto market)

Forget about the fact that their emissions based on Associate Professor Eckley’s modelling, ‘kill’ thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

Seriously? Perhaps Selin will be called as an expert witness at all the class actions coming at Volkswagen. And of course she’ll donate all the fess to a local environmental group – won’t she? Of course she will.

Now, I don’t accept that what Volkswagen did is right. Far from it. The consequences of this to Volkswagen dealers worldwide in particular, will be devastating. How will they be compensated? As to consumers? Not so much other than those who will jump on the soapbox claiming that Volkswagen is actually responsible for climate change problems. What it has done is taken GM’s ignition switch issue off the front pages of American newspapers. Lucky GM!

The preceding is my opinion based on the following story from Auto Guide Now

While it’s difficult to directly tie deaths to Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, an analysis shows just how deadly it could be.

Unlike GM’s ignition switch recall, which has been tied to at least 124 deaths, the human toll of Volkswagen’s cheating on diesel emissions tests isn’t as clear cut. What we do know is that the German automaker’s diesel engines emitted tons of extra pollutants into the air worldwide, all of which could harm human health. The company has confirmed that it installed illegal software that deceived emissions tests in at least 11 million diesel cars, the majority of which are not in the U.S. Still, an analysis estimates that the extra nitrogen oxides and pollution emitted in the U.S. from Volkswagen’s scandal could have caused an estimated 106 deaths.

To arrive at that estimation, The New York Times looked at power plant pollution, where some counties are subjected to regulations to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions by 350 tons a year. According to a team of three researchers, Olivier Deschenes, Joseph S. Shapiro and Michael Greenstone, the reduced pollution was responsible for about five fewer deaths for every 100,000 people in the affected counties annually, as well as for a decrease in spending on prescription drugs. The excess Volkswagen pollution is estimated to be about 46,000 tons since 2008, or the equivalent of about four percent of the power plant pollution reduction the researchers measured.

An associate professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at M.I.T., Noelle Eckley Selin, looked at the mortality effects of the particulate pollution produced by nitrogen oxides to arrive at a different estimate. According to Selin, she used numbers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to make health estimates and found that the effects added about 40 additional deaths over the same period, meaning Volkswagen’s diesel scandal could potentially be tied to more than 145 deaths.

Of course, it’s not an exact science to determine just how deadly Volkswagen’s extra pollution has been due to its cheating on diesel emissions tests, but one thing is coming into focus: Volkswagen’s clean diesel isn’t so clean and could even be deadly.

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