The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Volkswagen leaves integrity in the dust

October 6, 2015

Automobiles manufactured by German automaker Volkswagen (VW), fill up Palmetto’s parking lots year in and year out.

On September 22, Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, admitted that some diesel models of Volkswagen brand cars have been caught using special software that helps the cars pass emissions tests, which makes sure that cars release harmful pollutants under the legal limit. With the use of this software and VW essentially cheats these tests, many cars have been caught going over the legal amount of nitrogen oxide emissions. Volkswagen estimates that 11 million of these cars circulate worldwide, releasing as much as 15-35 times the amount of nitrogen oxide allowed byUS standards. Even past emission scandals never reached to this extent.  

“I think it’s ridiculous that Volkswagen was lying just so that these cars would pass the emissions test,” junior Brooke Sterling said.  “They put their sales and performance of the cars ahead of the environment and human lives. Since I own a Volkswagen, I turned my car in to make sure that it was within the legal limit of emissions.”

The nitrogen and sulfur oxide emissions released from the vehicles have the potential to be deadly. A study by The Associated Press estimates that 95 Americans have died due to exposure to excess of emissions.These clear and odorless emissions contain deadly nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and carbon monoxide gases.

“I think the deaths were mainly caused by sulfur oxide emissions and particulate matter,” Environmental Science teacher Pamela Schlachtman said. “It is really disappointing to see that cars with low mileage cheat on the emissions tests. The Volkswagen Golf TDI model was going 43 miles to the gallon, and now it is clear that the illegal tweak in the system of the cars could have caused the higher gas mileage.”

As a result of this scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned after nine years with the corporation. In the first report since the scandal, Volkswagen sales have also seemed to slow down, only increasing 0.56% in the month of September. As only a small sample size can be collected due to the recent nature of the event, the long term effects of the scandal won’t be fully known for a while.

“Due to this scandal, I would never consider buying a Volkswagen brand car,” freshman Charles Kavalir said. “They cheated on the EPA test and essentially harmed our environment. Volkswagen should have to pay for all the damages that have been done.”

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