Based on the ICCT report, EPA has started an investigation into Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” vehicle fleet. It has been found that Volkswagen installed “defeat devices” to enable the cars to game the emissions testing system. In doing so, the cars actually released emissions including NOx and particulate matter at levels up to 40 times the permitted levels.
The defeat device software is on Volkswagen (VW) Group models from as early as the model year 2009 covering roughly 482,000 vehicles in the United States. The software works by changing the operating characteristics of the engine based on when it detects the conditions one would expect while the vehicle is being tested for emissions; in essence bringing it into compliance only when it thinks it’s being tested.
At Kevala, the team gathered and layered transparent and verifiable data to see where the non-compliant VWs were located and where these unwitting polluters were likely to be driving. (Click to launch interactive mapping tool – Non-Compliant VW Diesels in California)
In California alone, Volkswagen has sold over 193,000 “clean diesel” cars since 2009. It has been reported that these vehicles actually emit more than 40 times the authorized amounts of NOx and particulate matter.
This interactive map helps tell the story of how these non-compliant VWs are affecting California’s environment, air quality, and communities. Here’s how to explore the data.
Where are the cars, where are they driving, and who does this effect?
- The orange dots represent the 193,000 non-compliant VWs in the zip codes to which they are registered (scattered randomly).
- Click in a zip code (outlined in white) on the map to see the top 5 commute routes in blue.
- Turn on Pollution and Poverty Index (lower right) to see levels of Pollution and Poverty in purple.
- In the top bar, select a district or county you’re interested in to view these details for that area.
- If you select a district, unique counts of the estimated cases of asthma and expected annual costs, and the number of non-compliant VWs are shown for that region.
If you click on a zip code in the map it shows you where the top 5 zip codes destinations (commute pattern) the from the original zip code. In this way you can get a sense of where the VWs are likely to be driving. This is based on routing data developed from the 2000 Census.
You can enter a county of state political district into the window. The map focuses and shows you the selected area. In the data bar on the bottom is counts the expected cases of asthma and expected costs. The count of non-compliant VWs registered to zip codes in that district are also estimated.