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Rigging Fuel Economy Ratings, Emissions Levels, Still a Problem

Rigging Fuel Economy Ratings, Emissions Levels, Still a Problem

By Philly Murtha, April 20, 2016
Manipulating fuel-economy ratings and cheating on vehicle emission levels continue to be issues for automakers, specifically Mitsubishi Motors and Volkswagen Group. In Japan this week, Mitsubishi admitted to rigging test data for 625,000 mini cars in the Japanese market to improve fuel-economy ratings by 5-10%.

Mitsubishi officials told Japanese media they will stop selling the Mitsubishi ek Wagon and eK Space kei (sold as the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox). Nissan Group, which was supplied with 468,000 of the mini cars, sold under the Nissan badge, discovered the scheme in its own tests. Mitsubishi reportedly tweaked tire-pressure data for better fuel-economy test results. Now, Mitsubishi joins Hyundai, Kia, and Ford in misrepresenting fuel-economy ratings, according to Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, seven months since receiving notification of violating the Clean Air Act by federal regulators, Volkswagen still is working to come up with an acceptable plan to bring 600,000 diesel-powered VW, Audi, and Porsche models from 2009-2015 into compliance with U.S. and California clean-air requirements. Last month a California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulator said that there may be no repair for vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines to meet required emissions levels, other than to scrap them, which is highly unlikely. Some 70,000 of the recalled vehicles are in California.

The ongoing VW emissions cheating debacle is pushing regulators and states to take a closer look at emissions testing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies models for sale, but states certify vehicles thereafter and many don’t check diesels, Automotive News reports. Currently, 32 states require emissions tests for vehicle registration. Most tests only evaluate a car’s software to see if pollution control systems are working, rather than checking actual tailpipe emissions.

To date, VW Group models that have been recalled by the EPA to be fixed and made compliant are:

2.0-liter diesel models:

  • Volkswagen Jetta (2009-2015) and Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
  • Volkswagen Beetle and Beetle Convertible (2012-2015)
  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • Volkswagen Golf (2010-2015) and Golf Sportwagen (2015)
  • Volkswagen Passat (2012-2015)

3.0-liter diesel models:

  • Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2009-2016)

Owners can check for updates on VW’s site ( and on the EPA’s website (

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