California may allow Volkswagen TDI vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards to stay on the road, because a full fix to the problem may not be available. That’s the word from California’s air regulators at a hearing on Tuesday.
According to Reuters, the California Air Resources Board says it’s goal had been to fix the vehicles that contain software designed to cheat emissions and get them back on the roads. However, regulators say that may not be possible.
“Our goal has been to fix the vehicles and return them to their certified configuration as expeditiously as possible,” said Todd Sax, chief of the California Air Resources Board enforcement division. “Unfortunately, this may not be possible.”
California is home to more than 82,000 VW TDI vehicles equipped with a “defeat device”. It allows them to pass emissions tests even though they exceed federal standards up to 40 times when driven on the road.
Sax says the board doesn’t think there is a viable fix even though Volkswagen’s said it would come up with one. The automaker is already fixing vehicles in Europe, but there are different requirements there.
“We will have to decide what the best approach is to dealing with these vehicles, and one of the options potentially would be to accept something less than a full fix,” he said.
Of course, not everyone agrees with this line of thinking. California State Senator Jim Beall is among them. He argued that allowing “partially fixed” VW diesels to continue driving on the road raised “moral dilemmas”. One of Beall’s concerns is that VW may resell cars it buys back from California in other less-regulated markets.
No decision has been made yet on moving forward with a partial fix. Volkswagen did not participate in Tuesday’s hearing.
Monday, VW warned its workers that tough times are likely ahead. If fines are steep enough, the company may be forced to layoff some employees.
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