Friday, October 02, 2015

VW and the diesel engine exhaust software fiddle mess

So the big news of this week which has largely pushed the refugees off the pages of the German press is VW's fixing of the software used to control diesel motors, so that under test conditions the car used up to 5% more fuel per mile, but emitted less nitrogen oxide. In normal operation the motor did not meet the values laid down by legislation. VW will in all probability modify the software controlling the motor so that it uses more fuel in future, but emits less nitrogen oxides. This could well mean that VW owners in Britain and elsewhere probably will have to pay 5% more fuel costs and maybe more tax, as the amount of pollution put out by the car often determines the road tax paid by the owner.

To make one thing clear. I am horrified by the actions of VW. I am also amazed. My experience of German engineers after 30 or so years working in German industry has been that they are pernickety in the extreme and thus not always easy to work with, but I have never had any reason to doubt their honesty, at least at work, apart from filling out travel expense forms.

VW diesel car owners are faced with the prospect of ca. 5% higher fuel costs.

If you have a diesel engined car what do do when the costs rise? A few answers:
  • Get on your bike. Up to 5 miles distance a bike is as quick as car especially when you don't have to find a parking spot. 
  • If the cycling possibilities in your neighbourhood are restricted or even life threatening join an organisation like the CTC in Britain or the League of American Bicyclists in the USA to press for improvements. The day that the CTC or the League has as many members as the motoring organisations is the day when politicians will really sit up and listen.
  • Walk. Think about buying a pensioner Ferrari, i.e. a shopping trolley. Use your local shops.
  • We do most of our shopping on foot or by bike. We buy less but we still have enough to eat. We throw less stuff away though. 
  • If there is any, take public transport. It helps if it is electrically powered like a tram or Bombardier's clever induction charged battery buses
  • Plan your trips so that you don't need to drive as far.

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