For How Long Did Fiat-Chrysler Hide its EPA Diesel Fiasco? Investors Found out the Hard Way Today

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Just days ago, CEO Marchionne tried to soften up Trump.

Today, the EPA disclosed that Fiat-Chrysler was neck-deep in the diesel-gate fiasco pioneered by Volkswagen. When Volkswagen settled claims in a Canadian court in December for C$2.1 billion, it brought total costs so far to $18 billion, and it’s still not over. So these things can get expensive.

Volkswagen’s strategy at the outset had been to keep investors in the dark, and deny, deny, deny, until it finally buckled. Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) appears to follow the same time-honored corporate strategy.

The EPA today issued a notice of violation to FCA, alleging violations of the Clean Air Act…

…for installing and failing to disclose engine management software in light-duty model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the United States. The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the vehicles. The allegations cover roughly 104,000 vehicles.

EPA is also investigating whether the auxiliary emission control devices constitute “defeat devices,” which are illegal.

“We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.”

At the bottom of the press release is the key (emphasis added):

In September 2015, EPA instituted an expanded testing program to screen for defeat devices on light duty vehicles. This testing revealed that the FCA vehicle models in question produce increased NOx emissions under conditions that would be encountered in normal operation and use. As part of the investigation, EPA has found at least eight undisclosed pieces of software that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution.

FCA, in its response, even admitted that it has been in negotiations with the EPA for “months”:

FCA US has spent months providing voluminous information in response to requests from EPA and other governmental authorities and has sought to explain its emissions control technology to EPA representatives. FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA’s concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.

On December 1, 2016, FCA and German engineering company Bosch were hit by a lawsuit seeking class action status, filed by law firm Hagens Berman. It alleged that FCA’s vehicles equipped with “Ecodiesel” engines and “Bosch EDC17″ emissions controlling software produce up to 10 times as much NOx as the legal limit, and were sold “under false pretenses.”

The profit motive? According to the lawsuit:

To appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, FCA vigorously markets its EcoDiesel vehicles as “clean diesel” with ultra-low emissions, high fuel economy and powerful torque and towing capacity. And, FCA charges a premium for EcoDiesel-equipped vehicles. For example, selecting the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engine on the 2016 Dodge RAM 1500 Laramie adds $4,770 to the purchase price. And the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland EcoDiesel costs $4,500 more than its gasoline counterpart.”

Alas, according to the suit, “Without cheating emissions, FCA could not achieve the fuel economy and range that it promises.”

“Dodge owners across the country fell victim to these corporations’ dirty tactics and are now faced with the reality that the premium price they paid for ‘reduced emissions’ was a joke,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.

The firm said that the defeat device affects 140,000 Dodge RAM 1500s and 9,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

So for how long has FCA known that this fiasco would eventually become public and crush its shares?

But CEO Sergio Marchionne pulled an ace from his sleeve, on January 8, just days before this fiasco blew into the open, as he knew it would because the EPA doesn’t spring those kinds of surprises on a company but negotiates for months to resolve this – in Volkswagen’s case for a year!

Marchionne announced that FCA would produce three new Jeeps and a Ram pickup in the US that are now produced in Mexico and invest $1 billion in the US over the next four years, so about $250 million a year. Peanuts for a huge car company, and probably part of its existing plans to push further into trucks. It might also add 2,000 jobs to its truck production.

But FCA’s sales of cars collapsed by a catastrophic 33.5% last year, and it shut down plants and laid off workers involved in car production, and it killed the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200. So trucks or nothing. Hence the new investment in trucks. But the announcement earned a kudos tweet from President Elect Trump:

It’s finally happening – Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1BILLION in Michigan and Ohio plants, adding 2000 jobs. This after…

And it likely earned Marchionne some goodwill and a foot in the door with the Trump administration for future negotiations with a more pliable EPA and other government agencies.

But investors were caught by surprise today. Trading was halted, before the announcement, and when they resumed trading, they were down 14%. They’ve recovered some since, but are still down 10% for the day.

The hype has been deafening about US auto sales. And beyond the hype? Read…  Annual US Auto Sales Fell for First Time since 2009 at GM, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, VW, BMW…

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  70 comments for “For How Long Did Fiat-Chrysler Hide its EPA Diesel Fiasco? Investors Found out the Hard Way Today

  1. George McDuffee
    Jan 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    It would seem simple enough to require vehicle/engine manufacturers to supply the EPA with the source and compiled code for their engine management software for review and approval. It is then trivial to compute a “checksum” which will allow easy/quick verification that the software [chip] installed in a production vehicle contains the approved software.

    • walter map
      Jan 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Doesn’t work. Just fake the checksum.

      It won’t be an issue once your new government gets rid of the EPA. If then run true to form they’ll leave the shingle up just to make it look good, and then congratulate themselves on what a splendid job they’re doing. People are disposable, after all.

      It’s just as well. Corporatists have been buying up elected officials to kill EPA since it was established, with extreme prejudice. Industrial pollution in the U.S. is as much of a lost cause as it ever was. There are thousands of examples.

      Reuters finds lead levels higher than Flint’s in thousands of locales

      http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-lead-testing/

      Don’t drink the water. Avoid the food too. And for heaven’s sake, don’t breathe.

      • Justme
        Jan 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm

        Any decent checksum like SHA-512 cannot practically be made identical for two different binary files with the same number of bytes in them. In other words, using a checksum is reliable. The real problem is to be allowed to evaluate the source code, AND to be able to determine whether the source code contains additional modes of operation that get activated upon certain conditions.

        • walter map
          Jan 13, 2017 at 12:39 am

          “Any decent checksum like SHA-512 cannot practically be made identical for two different binary files with the same number of bytes in them.”

          If only that were true. The world’s cybersecurity problems would be over.

        • Kent
          Jan 13, 2017 at 7:11 am

          JustMe is absolutely correct. But it doesn’t solve all of the worlds cybersecurity problems. The primary reason is that it is too complex for the local yokel to understand and validate the trusted source for the hash and digital signature.

        • George McDuffee
          Jan 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

          Indeed! Point is that there is an easy way to verify that a compiled engine control program on a chip is the same as the approved engine control program. A chip reader (USB? e. g. http://www.ebay.com/bhp/eeprom-reader @ 13.21$), a cheap laptop, and a checksum calculation program ( e. g. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11533 @ free) should be all that is required. No need to decompile the engine control program to verify.

      • Meme Imfurst
        Jan 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

        With all due respect to your ‘speculative’ condemnation of the incoming administration, 8 years of no prosecutions for all forms of the most serious crimes against the American people has taught companies that they can steal, lie, cheat, defraud, and Obama administration will turn a blind eye. Hopefully those days are at an end. God I hope so, and you should too.

        • hank
          Jan 13, 2017 at 10:28 am

          Notice the Crickets in regards to Mercedes & Mazda.

        • Smingles
          Jan 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm

          “8 years of no prosecutions for all forms of the most serious crimes against the American people”

          And Trump just hired… how many Goldman alums?

          Get back to me on that, thanks.

    • mike kelly
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      It would be almost impossible to find such a thing by examining code. Much easier to test moving vehicle for both mileage and emissions.

    • Quade
      Jan 14, 2017 at 10:17 am

      This is the same fallacy the open source software promoters push. Having the source code doesn’t mean you know how the software works. You’d need trained programmers to delve through other people’s code in hopes that they find some sort of smoking gun. These are all embedded systems too. Knowing that the software raises an output pin on P51 at a specific time means…what exactly? Without a complete analysis of the hardware, what the software tells you is limited.

      Having the source would be useful after the fact if you need to dig in and investigate why a specific thing is happening. On the other hand having a couple million lines of code with no idea where to really start looking for problems is no particularly effective.

      I think the EPA could solve this by instrumenting the cars and letting someone drive them around for a month. The question is whether these vehicles exceed emissions. If doesn’t really matter how they achieve it as long as they do.

  2. anthony hall
    Jan 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    first the Flithy Germans have smelly Diesel VW`S; now the Filthy Italians have Smelly FIAT Chrysler Diesels. the US want a $4 Billion Fine and Criminal Charges. The EU and the UK want to do F- ALL . UK Drivers are getting a Class Action Law Suit together. The Germans Rule the EU; and the UK Government are Chicken.

    • Kam
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I always wondered why Fiat Chrysler went to an Italian (marine) diesel engine instead of staying with Cummins- since they have been in the bigger Ram diesels for decades.
      I don’t know too much about it, but there is a smaller Cummins diesel- I think Mazda has it available.
      Anyway, I drive a Cummins diesel with some Dodge sheet metal wrapped around it. The engine is great.

      • d
        Jan 13, 2017 at 7:12 pm

        The Italian Diesel marine engines are originally car or van engines.

        Not purpose built marine engines and they are not nice.

        I know where there are lots of dead ones with very low hours.

        Thye put their local C*(p inn boat’s because its their local c(*p and people will buy it in their market as it is not American.

        Common rail diesel engines in Marine application’s are a disaster.

        Little pieces of . Copper, lead, silver, aluminum, steel, and moving parts, add salt water, sit back and watch it disintegrate.

        Direct injection cummins are still good.The chinese are copying lots of them.

  3. Flying Monkey
    Jan 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I worked for Bosch in Germany for truck Common Rail injectors. We made the injectors for the Cummins supplied Diesel engines for the RAM product line. I was the customer quality guy for Cummins in Germany for several years. Every year we had compliance training and product liability training. We learned for product liability, a company can be held liable if they know someone is using their product incorrectly and fails to take measures to stop it. If someone is hurt the company could be held liable. I am not a lawyer but I bet the same precedent will be taken over for emissions issues like this. Bosch will probably be on the hook since if failed to reverse the source code the automakers gave them to flash in the EDC17 control unit. Bosch also sells the authoring tools for the software so it should have been relatively easy to open up the code from VW or anybody and see if the “defeat” software was active.

    It would be real funny if there were a “check box” in the authoring software to toggle on and off the defeat subroutine. A simple check could see if the production software provided by the vehicle manufacturer was tainted.

    The common rail injector can do like multiple injections per combustion cycle. There is a small pre-injection to soften the blow of the main injection, which is the power injection. Then there is a post injection to have more fuel then needed to tie up oxygen so that it does not turn in to NOx. The diesel is now so efficient and burns so hot NOx can form. If the diesel were less efficient, it would not be so hot and NOx would form less. So the post injection actually is used to make the engine less efficient and it costs fuel. The resulting HC’s from incomplete combustion are treated in the catalytic converting. Today most cars have NOx catalytic converts and those inject ammonia in the exhaust stream to decompose any NOxs. Those systems are on the newer cars and can add complexity and cost, but the engines can be run hotter and get better efficiency since the NOx will be taken care of.

    The fuel injection works off a “map” and that is basically a lookup table for the injector “on times” for a specific condition. I am not an expert, but I would think the “non-emissions test mode” would need a second map to make the duration of the post injection cycles longer. The post injection is the “emissions test mode” would all be longer than in the normal driving map. It should be easy to see if you had multiple maps when you took an authoring tool and opened up the code. Bosch has a division in Stuttgart (Feuerbach), EDS that makes the authoring tools.

    It is like telling someone “I give you Pandora’s box, legally you are not supposed to look in it, but I trust you not to look in it”. The old Robert would be turning in his grave if he knew this was going on. You would think Bosch should have had the obligation to check the code if they told the manufacturer “Pandora’s Box” was build in the EDC17 or the authoring software.

    “I have always acted according to the principle that I would rather lose money than trust. The integrity of my promises, the belief in the value of my products and in my word of honor have always had a higher priority to me than a transitory profit.” Robert Bosch

    http://www.bosch.com/content2/publication_forms/en/downloads/SH1-07_en_aktuell.pdf

    • Chicken
      Jan 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      The very last US based lead smelter was shut down several years ago, nay lead must be imported. Pretty sad, IMO.

      • Realist
        Jan 13, 2017 at 2:10 am

        I suppose the lead facility was shut down as a step in making access ti ammo more expensive. An efficient and insidious way of achieving more gun control in the US.

        Interesting post about the workings of diesels 😊

      • West
        Jan 13, 2017 at 9:06 am

        It’s very sad, we used to drive through Leadington (MO) and see the large mines. Employed lots of people too, no doubt some on gov’t assistance now as the KFC can only employ so many folks.

        WRT diesel, I can see the need for additional efficiency for OTR trucks. For personal transportation, this is too much overkill and drives up the costs. Especially given the small % of diesel cars and trucks on the road.

        Finally, I do not trust a gov’t bureaucrat to review and/or modify the source code for a complex engine control system, created by a private company, for private use, whom must warranty and repair said product.

    • Jan 12, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Fascinating. Thanks.

    • Justme
      Jan 12, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Wow, really cool to have someone here that actually worked on diesel injection systems. Myself I was not aware of the connection between operating temperature and the formation of NOx, nor the post-injection used to reduce the NOx. Can you tell us whether the post-injection causes more particulates (tarballs)?

      PS: Do you ever post at greencarcongress.com? I think deep technical expertise would be a welcome addition, there too.

      • Flying Monkey
        Jan 13, 2017 at 3:22 am

        Cause “tarballs”… I think due to high injection pressure the fuel is so finely atomized that last soot particles will be ruled out. Soot is only large partially burned fuel particles. If a common rail injector is properly metering the fuel, there will be good atomization due to the high pressures 1400-2500 bar. New diesels have a particle filter too where any particles are trapped and with a periodic thermal cycle, burned away.

        No I have not posted on greencarcongress.com. I was not in development, only in the plant making the injectors and that plant made previous to that diesel distributor pumps. After 15 years in diesel, one picks up how the system and chemistry works.

        The passenger car diesel injection and truck injection use basically the same technology. The truck injectors are rated for longer life and higher fuel injection quantities due to the larger engines.

        It was quite interesting working there.

        • Maximus Minimus
          Jan 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

          Would you hazard a guess how the VW diesels supposedly exceed the EPA limit 40 times?

    • xtel
      Jan 12, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      I’ve noted many cars have two catalytic converters. One in front for the NOx scrubbing and on in the rear, beneath the vehicle for general hydrocarbon scrubbing.

      So you said “Today most cars have NOx catalytic converts and those inject ammonia in the exhaust stream to decompose any NOxs.”

      I didn’t know that the front scrubber injected ammonia (from where?) . This is some kind of catalytic process right?
      Couldn’t the fuel stations just put ammonia in gasoline if that were the case?

    • nhz
      Jan 13, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Interesting; talking to several engineers (not just from car sector) many people are surprised that Bosch was caught up in this. It seems that in general they still do pretty good in the ethics department. I guess they got squeezed by bigger powers and if you realize that e.g. the EU Commission already knew 10 years ago, one wonders what Bosch could have done to stop the cheating. Much of politics silently agreed.

      Bosch also got caught up in questionable projects like the Quant EV, the car that is ‘running on salt water’. Questionable at least regarding the background of the owner of the NanoFlowCell company. Sometimes in the high tech industry it is difficult to separate science from pure fiction.

    • MC
      Jan 13, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Bosch already admitted they sold VAG the authoring codes used in the now infamous “defeat device” but they also produced legal documentation which said VAG promised they would employ said authoring codes merely for “research, development, experimental and racing purposes”. In short exactly what you said.

      It’s also intriguing to note among the several automakers whose diesel engines were found to have “defeat devices” was Mitsubishi. Why intriguing? Because several companies of the Mitsubishi conglomerate work very closely with Bosch. Mitsubishi Electric, which among many other things manufactures engine control systems, is pretty much Bosch’s primary partner and licensee in Eastern Easia.
      Coincidences exist but are exceedingly rare.

    • Kam
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Flying Monkey
      The problem engine is the Italian one. Cummins has nothing to do with the FCA’s cheating.

      • Flying Monkey
        Jan 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

        Kam….Yes you could be right.

        I was only talking about the Dodge (Chrysler) RAM with Bosch injection systems.

        Do you know who makes the injection for the Italian one? Denso, Bosch and Delphi are the big ones in the market for passenger cars.

  4. Chicken
    Jan 12, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    If some fanatics had their way, EPA would enact a ruling making it illegal to pass gas.

  5. Nik
    Jan 12, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Ah…the Worldwide WONDERS of Unique and Clever Software…..lololol

  6. nick kelly
    Jan 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Marchionne was just on saying there is an important distinction between this and VW. His version is very easy to prove or disprove so it is extremely unlikely that he would make things worse by lying.
    The VW software was built as deceit- it would detect when the vehicle was being tested and TEMPORARILY reduce emissions.
    Marchionne says their software did not switch on for the test, it ran all the time.
    This is a huge difference in law.

    Moving back from the trees for a look at the forest, a number of auto cos have used dubious methods to enhance fuel consumption numbers. e.g., inflating the tires to a hundred PSI for the test.
    Nissan just had to pay out some money on exaggerated fuel numbers- on four cylinder cars!

    My point is, it’s easy for bureaucrats in California to proclaim: ‘the emissions or fuel consumption will be X ‘ and to tighten year after year.
    But if the best engineers in the world have to cut corners, or cheat to make the cut, we may have reached the limit of what can be done.

    Second point: it is unfair to the small car to test percent of emissions and not AMOUNTS of them.
    A 2000 cc engine is ALREADY putting out less than half the emissions of a
    the popular 5 liter V8.
    If pollution is the concern- the small engine should be encouraged.

    • nhz
      Jan 13, 2017 at 5:33 am

      The emission ratings were not ‘impossible’ at all, they were only impossible for cheap running (and sometimes relatively big) cars. There are far less emissions cheating issues with non-diesel cars, but consumers buy these diesel cars because they are relatively cheap to run compared (in many countries, partly because of environmental subsidies for ‘clean diesel’).

      I agree that the small (AND clean) engine should be encouraged, and small cars as well (why drag along that big and heavy 4-7 people sedan when there’s usually just one person in the car?).

      And yes, the ratings are unfair. In my country until recently buyers of e.g. the most expensive Porsche Cayenne hybrid got ten thousands of euro’s discount on the normal price (Dutch car taxes are sky high normally), because it has the best emission ratings in it weight class. But it is just a bit cleaner than its non-hybrid peers in average use, and dirtier than probably 95% of cars on the road ;-(
      BTW, small diesel cars are also VERY cheap here resulting in surging sales and surging pollution :-(

    • jb
      Jan 13, 2017 at 10:51 am

      good points- we have reached the engineering limits of pollution control – car manufacturers are creating complex workarounds that may decrease product reliability and useful life . Repair costs will increase also . Consumers saddled with 6 or 7 year payment schedules will walk away from their loans post warranty if repair costs are exorbitant. maybe its a push for consumers to buy electric cars . the pollution will be at the generating facility . lithium (for batteries will be the new gold) WR has a post on this .

      • nhz
        Jan 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

        it looks like car purchases are becoming ‘consumption’ instead of an ‘investment’, as the useful life gets shorter and shorter (maybe even more so with current electric cars due to battery issues etc.).
        Some manufacturers are already adapting to this and switch to (partial) lease instead of selling cars, e.g. with the BMW i3, Renault Twizy and many more to come.

        I don’t know the numbers, but driving a cheap car that is ‘clean’ but needs to be replaced every 5 years or so, instead of one that is a bit less clean but lasts for 30 years with some basic maintenance, probably works out pretty bad for the environment. Much of the environmental cost is upfront, in production (and shipping) of the car unless one makes a lot of miles.
        It’s sad that most countries still do not tax actual use but mostly the relative efficiency of the car. It’s crazy that you have to pay a huge tax on e.g. a classic car that is driven for very few miles a year, and get lots of subsidies for small cars that are driven all the time. No surprise that EU emissions went up again last year …

        For the environment things will not improve much until EV’s are charged with real renewable energy like a solar roof or local wind turbine; not going to happen on a significant scale in the near furture. It’s certainly better than a ‘clean’ diesel that pollutes locally, but on a national scale the net benefit will remain really small.

  7. wkevinw
    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    These stories always amaze me. I work in the environmental testing and compliance field for part of my job. One doesn’t commit fraud in this field unless one wants to take huge personal risk and expose the company to huge risk.

    I guess the tests were done by plugging into the computer; and the problems were caught by doing an actual tail pipe test. Amazing. What fool engineer thought nobody would ever test the tail pipe? The stupidity…

    Also, air and water in the US have not been cleaner in the past century, anyway. Anybody who says otherwise doesn’t know the history of pollution in the US.

    The problem with the water in places like Flint were caused by incompetent technical people in an incompetent bureaucracy. I believe they have correctly targeted a few people in the Flint case who had the decision power, and a similar situation exists in the VW case. They identified the engineer who made the decision to cheat.

    • walter map
      Jan 13, 2017 at 12:49 am

      “They identified the engineer who made the decision to cheat.”

      The governor decided to cheat. The AG already has the case made because he want’s to be the next governor.

    • walter map
      Jan 13, 2017 at 1:08 am

      “Also, air and water in the US have not been cleaner in the past century, anyway. Anybody who says otherwise doesn’t know the history of pollution in the US.”

      You’re kidding, right? It’s gets worse every year. And it’s accelerating.

      Forty percent of America’s rivers are too polluted for fishing, swimming or aquatic life. The lakes are even worse — over 46% are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.

      http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/water-pollution-facts.html

      What’s in your water? Or would you rather not know?

      Fun fact: your body contains ten billion tiny bits of plastic. If you’re a teenager. Otherwise it’s a lot higher.

      • nhz
        Jan 13, 2017 at 5:06 am

        I studied environmental (+bio-)chemistry and kept an eye on things ever since, and I partly agree with wkevinw. I’m in Europe but I think the situation is on average pretty similar here as in the more industrialized areas of the US. The question is how you define pollution.

        For sure visible pollution is a LOT less nowadays compared to e.g. 50 years ago. At the time large parts of North-West Europe looked a bit like industrial China today, and some of the biggest rivers were so toxic that there were hardly any fish in it (maybe some dead ones …), there were toxic dumps everywhere (especially in the most beautiful pieces of nature) and I still remember they days when you could already see that it wasn’t wise to go outside due to severe air pollution coming to Netherlands from the UK (and not from the dirty diesel cars …). Much of this has improved, at least from the outside.

        The problem is that thousands of new chemicals get introduced every year and most of that isn’t monitored. Much of the risk is in the things we don’t see or notice, like all the hormone-changing substances in plastics and dangerous new pesticides and herbicides that are reprogramming nature including humans (why do sperm counts in the West keep dropping, cancer rates increasing etc. etc.).

      • Rocky
        Jan 13, 2017 at 8:48 am

        The ideologues can’t admit their water and air is generally not healthy. Just like none of these polluter apologists would ever drink the inflammable fracking water coming out of taps.

        • Chicken
          Jan 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          I built, payed for and maintain my own legal septic system. The water quality from my 400ft well drilled into a solid granite slab is fine, TYVM.

          I pay property taxes for the privilege of owning these and I payed for them from my own pocket with no subsidies.

          Please don’t expect me to subsidize your gourmet bottled water b/c you chose to live in a saltwater flood plane or your sewage treatment, these are your responsibility thus totally up to you.

        • George McDuffee
          Jan 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

          While true, your solution is possible only in areas with low population density. As you point out a majority of the US population is crammed into narrow strips on both coasts in mega urban areas, with ever more people migrating to these overpopulated areas, and out of the heartland.

          We, through our government, are faced with two choices: (1) make the very densely populated urban areas work, e. g. strict zoning and environmental regulations or (2) create some sort of a scheme to redistribute the population, e. g. income tax rate multipliers based on ZIP codes and residency permits for desirable urban areas such as San Francisco. It is a question of selecting the bad over the worse.

      • Chicken
        Jan 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Plastic beads are from the cosmetics (pharmaceutical?) industry, does EPA have unfettered access or ability to reverse engineer their proprietary formulations?

        The 13k acre lake I live by, we recommend people don’t make a habit of eating the fish caught due to PCB contamination.

        When was the last time PCB’s were allowed, due to toothless EPA regulations?

      • wkevinw
        Jan 13, 2017 at 11:23 pm

        Sorry, I test water for a living (in part).

        Average drinking water today vs. 100 years ago is much cleaner. (The same is true for average wastewater, by the way.)

        What lay people don’t know is that the standards for “safe water” keep being revised- to being more safe. In other words, what was defined as safe decades ago would not pass that test today. So, you may see “x% of water is …unsafe” headlines, which again, are misleading (purposely in many cases).

        Read the NPDES regulations; the spirit and meaning behind the “E” is the reason for the continuous improvement.

        Good luck.

    • Flying Monkey
      Jan 13, 2017 at 3:03 am

      I am sure management decided to cheat in order to get their bonus. The engineer probably got nothing. I have seem management bend rules so they could get their incentive compensation.

  8. Rocky
    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:23 am

    The anti-regulation ideologues keep yapping ignorantly about the EPA like it’s really had any teeth for the last 20 years.

    That ended when the water polluting chemical companies like Dow in Michigan and DuPont in New Jersey totally destroyed the nearby water systems with toxins.

    Under Reagan, the chemicals got to “negotiate” with the EPA. Yes, they actually could “negotiate” their life destruction.

    Today, the sad insipid government bashers simply can’t admit they have been lied to and ripped off by their corporate Gods for decades.

    They are like lawyers for rapists. They blame the women instead of the rapist. In the cases of corporate rape of consumers and taxpayers, the most angry victims can’t come to admit their world is a lie – the lie that corporate profits over everything else in the answer to their happiness and dreams.

    Its really a very disturbing corporate idolatry cult.

    Almost all the industrials, energy, materials, and even technology companies are guilty of these sociopathic violations.

    Consumers have no power anymore because they have abdicated their rights to the lobbied politicians who are owned by the corporate rapists.

    The citizens get the respect they have been willing to fight for – and it ain’t much these days. Fiat is just another example of the reason our global economies are so distressed.

    • Chicken
      Jan 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      “sad insipid government bashers simply can’t admit they have been lied to and ripped off by their corporate Gods for decades. ”

      I believe your point is there’s no such thing as ethics in business. I agree, one cannot assume there are and most times there aren’t (for multiple whatever reasons).

      So your 2nd argument is manufacturing shouldn’t be allowed anywhere on earth or just in the US?

    • wkevinw
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      If you want to be fully aware of some of the incidents of river pollution, you need to be more careful. Most of the pollution you have mentioned in one case happened between the late 1800s-~1930. That is prior to the EPA, for those that don’t know the dates.

      The EPA has provided a meaningful service in giving guidelines for testing and some other technologies.

      However, the EPA in recent years has fallen off its horse. If they would stay on their original mission, they would be in very good shape. When they try to expand the definition of pollution they get into trouble. They live in the DC swamp – so they have to politicize everything, compete for PR and funding, etc., so they make a LOT of mistakes nowadays.

      They are certainly less competent than the private sector in some technologies: see Gold King Mine. Thanks EPA.

  9. nhz
    Jan 13, 2017 at 4:56 am

    crime pays; VW and Audi sales were up a lot in Europe in 2016. Quick, buy that high-MPG dirty diesel before they take it from the market!! There even was a buying surge in 2016 for these dirty diesels, and clearly none of the buyers cares a bit for the environment – it’s all about cheap driving.

    I have read from independent researchers that almost every car brand has been gaming the emissions system more or less for years – of course they have, because the improvements in diesel emissions over the last years were simply unbelievable. In Europe the increase in air pollution in the cities over the last years due to diesel cars is extremely obvious, instead of the decline that one would expect based on the car manufacturer and government marketing BS. The cost in lives and lost productivity is staggering.

    I bet the politicians like the game: they can extract billion dollar fines from the car companies that they can spend on more bread and circuses, while ordinary citizens bear most of the cost (e.g. for all the additional disease and death caused by car pollution). The EU Commission already knew in 2008 and did nothing; even now stricter emissions tests and honest ratings are being delayed to the max for the benefit of the car companies and their ‘victims’.

    Also I cannot understand why the owners of these dirty diesel cars are not fined for the environmental mayhem they are causing, instead of allowing them to get ‘compensated’ while they already were compensated plenty because these cars are artificially cheap (they would have been FAR more expensive if the emissions were as promised – but the owners did get the advantage of really cheap driving). The lawyers like those from Hagens Berman working for these ‘victims’ are criminals.

    • Chicken
      Jan 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Good thing you only ride a bike, most people in developed countries don’t though.

      So now globalists are developing Africa, planning roads (more wildlife habitat destruction) and fueling stations, urban sprawl and of course pollution that comes from human activities.

      They’ll make up for it though, by forcing you to purchase green vehicles from them,

  10. d
    Jan 13, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Logically almopst all Euro diel vehicles or diesel powerd vehicles will have similar issues as they all use similar power-trains and electronic components. Any problem fiat has afa will have Etc VW, Audi, Skodak, Porsche, and other, all basically on the same power-plant.

  11. william
    Jan 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Paris has been experiencing problems with smog and have been making efforts to address with restricting use of automobiles and making public transport free on occasion. I thought this was odd for a modern country with small, efficient vehicles.

    • nhz
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

      I bet the French have lots of small dirty diesel cars as well these days, thanks to European regulations ;-(

      After the 2008 recession the emissions problem seemed a bit under control (less traffic, less emissions) but now that road traffic is rebounding we see all the old problems rear their head again, like endless traffic jams and ever increasing pollution near the roads. Politicians decided to ignore the problem (avoid painful measures), and thought they would get away with it. In my country they even increased the speed limit as a gesture for the previous elections; this still hasn’t been turned back and it causes lots of extra pollution especially near the big cities.

  12. Petunia
    Jan 13, 2017 at 11:17 am

    As a software engineer for many years, I can tell you no engineer would take it upon themselves to rig a system. There are two ways decisions get made in software, you are told to do it that way, or you present available options and let management decide. Either way, management makes the decision. The larger the organization, the less control the software developers have over the system, as would be the case in a large car manufacturing plant.

    • nhz
      Jan 13, 2017 at 11:56 am

      I think it is a bit more complicated: probably very few engineers would do that on their own, but much of this type of design is a ‘group process’ where people don’t know exactly what others are doing (and probably prefer not to know, in their own interest). Much like Bosch providing the cheat codes and telling they are only for internal testing.

      I don’t doubt the managers at VW (and most of their competitors) knew, just like most politicians and bureaucrats involved with emissions regulations knew that some cheating was going on, but they probably didn’t know the full story. Most managers too probably decided to keep their official knowledge of the matter as limited as possible, just like the criminals at the banks do ;-(

      BTW, funny how the US is now arresting VW managers for the same level of criminal activity that didn’t even produce a slap on the wrist for US companies. Some pigs are more equal, just like with the banks where foreign banks get heavy fines for sometimes relatively small offenses, and US banks at most a slap on the wrist.

      • Chicken
        Jan 13, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        It appears to me, regulators are just making new regulations “willy-nilly” without even consulting with manufacturers as to if they can meet the new requirements.

        • d
          Jan 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm

          A lot of US regulations are deliberately written so that imported products do not conform.

          US truck regulations were like that for years as US truck engines were cleaner at idle and dirtier @ high rpm. Than their Euro competitors for many years.

          Pat of the reason VW didnt care about US regulation’s, they are just something the US uses to keep euro product’s out.

      • d
        Jan 13, 2017 at 7:17 pm

        That VW guy was stupid to go back to the US.

    • d
      Jan 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      The system was not built, by VW, Audi, Porsche.

      It was not even built by a “Car Manufacturer”.

  13. PrototypeGirl1
    Jan 14, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Wonder how much insider trading is going on with these EPA officials as they crash companies just before losing their jobs to a new administration?

  14. Smitty
    Jan 25, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Newsflash it wasn’t just vw and Chrysler, everybody cheated, diesels are dirty periodamundo.

    The mileage requirements on the other hand are either “fantasy unrealistic” or “designed to ban public ownership of autos”.

    • d
      Jan 25, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      “Newsflash it wasn’t just vw and Chrysler, everybody cheated, diesels are dirty periodamundo. ”

      Until you look at pollution per liter consumed and mileage traveled the Gasoline vehicles are dirtier.

      EPA isn’t interested in that.

      Diesel engine was designed to run on vegetable oil before the Fossil fuel industry made the producers change that.

      Fossil fuel’s are dirty FULL STOP, END OF STORY.

      • Flying Monkey
        Jan 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

        The first diesels were designed to run on coal dust then liquid petroleum! I am pretty sure vegetable oils came much later. If you want to ruin a modern common rail diesel injections system then go ahead and use vegetable oils. Vegetable oils have a nice tendency to leave deposits on the finely ground sliding parts and over time cause the gaps to fill with deposits and then the injector valve piece or nozzle seizes up. Older diesels could work with vegetable oils and better tolerate them since the injection system was ground to such exacting tolerances.

        I’ve seen lots of warranty claims refused because the system was not approved for vegetable oils and they failed due to vegetable oils use.

        Why exactly is gasoline dirtier?

        • d
          Jan 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

          “The first diesels were designed to run on coal dust then liquid petroleum! I am pretty sure vegetable oils came much later.”

          Today they call that fake new’s.

          Research Mr diesel. GET SOME TRUTH INTO YOUR LIFE.

          Its simple.

          “I’ve seen lots of warranty claims refused because the system was not approved for vegetable oils and they failed due to vegetable oils use. ”

          You are not the only one.

          Common rail system’s are not designed to run on Organic or even heavy diesel.

          They are not designed to live in the marine environment either, but greedy salesmen put them there.

          Take copper, lead or silver solder, steel aluminum, Stainless steel, mix it together in electronic components, add salt water, sit back and watch.

          Due to the way it burn’s, Gasoline produces much more CO2, per liter consumed, and per mile traveled.

          Not all dirt or pollutant’s, are black and visible.

          The most important ones defiantly aren’t.

          In the beginning of the clean air movement, they attacked soot production, as you could see the soot.

          HUGE PROBLEM.

          The soot was PROTECTING the Planet. From the greenhouse effect’s of CO2. Which stupid human’s were emitting in huge quantity’s.

          That is how inadvertently, humans really radically accelerated, human assisted global warming.

          The scientist and clean air people, will not even hear that augment, as it proves

          1 global warming IS HUMAN accelerated. Without doubt.

          2 the clean air people have made, and are still making, HUGE FUBAR’S, and wont admit it.

          From the point of view of the overheating planet.

          BLACK SOOT GOOD, (although not necessarily good for human respiration system’s).

          CFC, CO2, and Methane, VERY VERY BAD.

          Now the Oceans have warmed to the point where they are starting to release Methane Hydrates from the sea floor.,

          Human’s are in big trouble.

          Thank you High CO2 emitting gasoline engines.

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