I suggest you join me in taking this story with a grain of salt.
Volkswagen’s pollution-control chicanery has not just been victimless tinkering, killing between five and 20 people in the United States annually in recent years, according to an Associated Press statistical and computer analysis.
The software that the company admitted using to get around government emissions limits allowed VWs to spew enough pollution to cause somewhere between 16 and 94 deaths over seven years, with the annual count increasing more recently as more of the diesels were on the road. The total cost has been well over $100 million.
That’s just in the United States. It’s likely far deadlier and costlier in Europe, where more VW diesels were sold, engineers said. Scientists and experts said the death toll in Europe could be as high as hundreds each year, though they caution that it is hard to take American health and air quality computer models and translate them to a more densely populated Europe.
“Statistically, we can’t point out who died because of this policy, but some people have died or likely died as a result of this,” said Carnegie Mellon environmental engineer professor Peter Adams. He calculates the cost of air pollution with a sophisticated computer model that he and the AP used in its analysis.
Computer software allowed VW diesel cars to spew between 10 to 40 times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than allowed by regulation, making this “clearly a concern for air quality and public health,” said Janet McCabe, acting air quality chief for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Nitrogen oxides mostly form smog — that murky, dirty air that makes it hard to see and for some people to breathe — but also amplify a deadlier, larger problem: tiny particles of soot.
Numerous medical studies show those tiny particles cause about 50,000 deaths a year in the United States, mostly from heart problems.