Several U.S. states have begun an investigation into Volkswagen AG’s admission that it equipped cars with technology to cheat federal air pollution tests, joining federal investigators and a growing list of countries probing the German automaker.
Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen said on Sept. 18 that it used “defeat device” software to beat emissions tests in labs. The diesel vehicles spewed as much as 40 times the legal limit of pollutants when they were on the road, the Environmental Protection Agency alleges. Volkswagen said it’s cooperating with U.S. officials.
The matter may cost Volkswagen $18 billion in penalties from the EPA, based on a maximum $37,500 violation for each of nearly a half-million diesel versions of the VW Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Passat and the Audi A3.
Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in an e-mail today that he could confirm New York is part of the multistate group but was unable to say what other states were part of the probe.
The U.S. Justice Department has also begun a criminal probe, according to officials who spoke on a condition of anonymity.
The German government opened its own probe on Tuesday. Environment Canada also started an investigation, promising unspecified “enforcement action” if the car maker cheated in that country.
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