The Dieselgate emissions scandal erupted when it was discovered that Volkswagen and a number of other automobile manufacturers had fitted defeat devices into their vehicles to hide the true amount of emissions the automobiles produced. The aforementioned German diesel car manufacturer was the first company to have been discovered violating the Clean Air Act, a federal air pollution rule in the United States.
During a road test under normal driving conditions, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) revealed inconsistencies in the values between the US and European models. Another test was conducted in 2017, this time using real-world driving and the UN-sanctioned Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures.
During these tests, it was found out that the level of gases emitted was 40 times higher than mandated values. Unbeknownst to consumers, the vehicles they bought—some of which were touted as being eco-friendly—had exacerbated air pollution not just in the US but also across Europe.
In addition to this, it has been reported that other car brands have potentially installed their own version of the device. These include Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Skoda, Volvo, Vauxhall, Ford, and BMW.
Diesel emissions and air quality
Diesel car emissions produce the gases nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) that combine into nitrogen oxide (NOx), an umbrella term for a type of toxic gas. These gases cause breathing difficulties, trigger asthma and other allergic reactions, and weaken the lungs.
Approximately 500,000 tonnes of excess NOx have polluted our environment in the last 12 years, lowering air quality, producing smog, acid rain, and reducing life expectancy. Excess NOx emissions—that is, emissions above the regulated limits—were found to be responsible for 38,000 extra deaths worldwide in 2017, according to a study conducted by Environmental Health Analytics. The majority of these deaths occurred in Europe, where CO2 emissions have largely been regulated more strictly than NOx emissions.
The emissions also release particulate matter into the air. These are small particles with a diameter of fewer than 10 micrometers that cause the most damage since they can penetrate your lungs and spread through your bloodstream. Particle pollution exposure has been linked to some debilitating cases like irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature deaths in people with cardiorespiratory diseases.
In 2007, the UK Air Quality Strategy set out targets for improving air quality standards based on health concerns. Local governments must establish an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in places that are expected to fail in reaching national air quality objectives; in those areas, an action plan must be developed and implemented.
New cars must meet stringent EU vehicle emission requirements, referred to as Euro standards, in order to be sold in the EU. The four pollutants of concern are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Euro IV went into effect on January 1, 2006, for cars, followed by Euro V in September 2009 and Euro VI in January 2013 for light passenger and commercial vehicles. There are around 12 million diesel cars representing 47% of new car sales in the UK.
How to make a claim
Hundreds of thousands of diesel cars were recalled following the emissions scandal. Volkswagen has already paid compensation to their car owners in the USA, Australia, Germany, and Canada, but the other companies have not even started yet. A UK ruling on the Volkswagen case is due to conclude in 2022.
If you bought a diesel car between 2007 and 2018, you could be one of the receivers of a Dieselgate compensation claim. Find a team of solicitors, one that handles diesel emissions claims, so you can get the correct compensation. You can claim for a car that you already sold, or a pre-owned car, or one that is still on a lease, for as long as you originally bought it in the UK.
Work with the team of solicitors and allow them to help you through the whole process, from filing the claims to the court proceedings. Most firms will only charge you if you win the case. They will fight for you to get 100% of your diesel vehicle’s cost. (However, they will take between 20 and 50% of the amount that was paid to you.) The case may take one to five years to finish, but if you choose a good team, you may get your results faster.
If you truly believe that you have a strong case of diesel emission scandal against your car manufacturer, then you need to keep in touch with the legal professionals who can advise and help you win your case. They can help you get back what you lost and get compensated for the health effects that the emissions may have caused you and your family.