Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Volkswagen and Emissions

A lot has been said in the media about the "fiddling" of the emissions produced by the diesel engines in VW cars and of course how governments and the poor old public were badly misled. This is, as usual, followed by the flood of people who feel that they should get compensation.

I used to own a VW Bora Diesel, and it was a very nice car with amazing acceleration for a diesel. Before buying, I looked at quite a number of things, how it drove and its handling, comfort, space, availability of a local dealer, etc. I even considered its fuel consumption, although experience suggested that any manufacturers' mpg figures needed to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. However, one thing that I never looked at was its emission figures as they are pretty meaningless to anyone unless they have carefully studied the subject. How would I know without a lot of research whether a certain number of grammes of CO2 emissions per mile was good or bad?

So, out of curiosity, I spoke to a few friends and acquaintances and I was unable to find anyone who had actually considered a car's emissions before making a purchase. Most had looked at fuel consumption, and like me, had little belief in the manufacturers' figures. In general, they all thought it was a useful way of comparing different models, but otherwise not representative of the real world.

So where are all these people are who thought about emissions before buying a car? Where are all these people who are so traumatised by feeling that they have been deceived that they deserve huge amounts of compensation? It is suggested that the second hand value of such cars will plummet; my experience in selling my old cars suggests that the values could hardly plummet far without the owner having to pay someone to take it away! If you want to part-exchange a VW for a new one, I suspect VW will offer much the same as previously in order to secure a sale.

The only organisation which may have made a loss is probably the Treasury should the cars have been put in the wrong tax band and if so no doubt they will take action if they feel it is appropriate.
It is also interesting to speculate on what, if anything, will be found when the test results from other manufacturers are examined - have any others been fiddling their results?

If VW decide (or are forced) to offer any compensation, how long before we are inundated with TV and radio advertisements or text messages similar to those for PPI ?
I dread the thought of TV adverts, "Have you ever owned a VW within the past ten years, if so there is a pile of money which has been put aside waiting for you to claim, just text XXXX at once to stake your claim".

As an aside from the main issue, I have been wondering whether it is actually possible for a manufacturer to meet the emission limits required by the EU.  So many other EU targets have not been met because they are simply impractical, so are their required car emissions equally impractical?

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