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EPA IG Investigates How VW Cheated On The Agency’s Emissions Tests

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans on investigating how Volkswagen executives managed to thwart the agency’s emission regulations.

EPA’s Office of Inspector General announced its intention to research whether the agency’s existing internal controls are effective at detecting emissions fraud, according to a memo posted Monday on the agency’s website. The project is included in the OIG’s 2017 fiscal year plan.

“The anticipated benefit of this project,” according to the memo, “is to provide information to the public regarding the effectiveness of the EPA’s existing internal controls for its on-road vehicle emissions testing program.”

The VW fraud case “was the primary impetus for this project,” Jeffrey Lagda, a media spokesman for the EPA, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The research project will not seek to explain how the company managed to skirt the agency’s regulations, he said.

The German-based automaker admitted in September 2015 to installing defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. The devices would only kick on during road conditions when emission measuring tools were not engaged.

The scandal came at a high cost for VW.

The company agreed in January to a $4.3 billion settlement, putting an end to the U.S. government’s investigations into the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating.

VW will pay a $1.5-billion civil fine and $2.8-billion criminal fine, according to court documents. The company would have stiffer penalties had it refused to spend more than $11 billion to fix or buyback the nearly 500,000 tainted vehicles.

The settlement, which pays back owners of the most expensive vehicles affected, means the costs associated with the scandal will plateau at $24.3 billion in North America. It covers 75,000 Audi, VW and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

Customers with older models that cannot be altered will be offered buybacks instead of fixes, while owners with newer vehicles will receive $16,114. If VW cannot find an effective fix, then buybacks could balloon above $4.04 billion, increasing the final cost above $25 billion.

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