Volkswagen was ordered to recall nearly 500,000 of its cars today after the EPA discovered that the German automaker was using software created to evade emissions testing. According to the EPA, the company has been breaking the law by using a device that can detect when a vehicle is being tested for emissions. The device turns on full emissions control systems only during the testing, giving what is essentially a false reading, which is not only illegal, but it seems awfully hypocritical for a company who likes to tout its commitment to the environment.

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The recall impacts Volkswagen diesel vehicles made between 2009 and 2015, including the Jetta, Passat, Beetle, Golf and the Audi A3. The EPA asserts that these vehicles were equipped with the software that circumvents air standards, concealing the amount of nitrogen oxide that is released into the air. California issued its own notice of violating and, together with the EPA and Justice Department, will investigate the claim.

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According to Clean Air Watch, an environmental advocacy group, “The charges here are truly appalling: that Volkswagen knowingly installed software that produced much higher smog-forming emissions from diesel vehicles in the real world than in pre-sale tests. In the process, it was cheating not just car buyers but the breathing public. Indeed, EPA asserts that the vehicles actually may be polluting “40 times” the permissible level! This is unacceptable and really undercuts all the “clean diesel” rhetoric.”

via the New York Times

Images via Shutterstock and Volkswagen