Opinion

Bravo to WVU team who exposed VW cheating

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — It may have come as a shock to the folks at Volkswagen, but when federal officials and the California Air Resources Board needed help tracking down an environmental cheater, they turned to the best in the business: West Virginia University.

Despite the widely held belief that West Virginians do not care about the environment or reducing pollution, one of the most highly regarded research facilities in the country is right here in the Mountain State. WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions has been working for decades to tackle problems that are stumping lesser institutions. Back in 1998, the Center was able to find more than 1.1 million trucks with heavy-duty diesel engines that had passed emissions tests at the factory because they had been fitted with devices that overcame emissions controls.

Now, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2013 VW Passat have been found out as significantly higher polluters than their initial test results indicated. In fact, because of the work done at WVU, Volkswagen has been forced to admit it placed stealth software on millions of its vehicles in order to cheat the system.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the CARB cited WVU’s help in bringing the fraud to light because, while nearly everyone else who conducts such tests uses a dynamometer that can be fooled, WVU uses its own equipment, which fits in vehicle trunks.

Bravo, to the team at WVU, which is doing superior work in the field of alternative fuels and emissions reduction; and which has proved once again, the initial science on emissions does not always bear up to further scrutiny.

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