When the VW pollution story broke, I thought “what a marvellous piece of evil. If only our government could be that evil”*. All cars have to undergo tests to make sure that they don’t release excessive amounts of pollution – primarily because that pollution actually kills people. 50,000 people a year die early due to air pollution. VW were cheating by detecting when cars were being tested, and only turning on the anti-pollution systems fully when the cars were in a test situation. The rest of the time they are spewing out 40 times the legal limit of nitrous oxides. Pure evil on a massive scale.
But this blog isn’t tracking corporate evil. It’s about making sure the UK government is sufficiently evil. So how did they manage to get in on the evil here? Well, it seems that the UK government was actually lobbying the EU to allow car manufacturers to be allowed to use outdated inefficient testing techniques. For example, they allow a fresh fully charged battery before each test, which prevents the alternator from being used to charge the battery. They also allow car manufacturers to fine tune the weight of the vehicle to game the testing system. The result is unrealistic test figures. The only beneficiary of such lobbying is the car industry, and the people it hurts are the thousands of ordinary people who die prematurely every single year. Mwhahaha.
The UK government is not alone in this. Germany actually lobbied for emissions tests to be carried out while the car is rolling down hill. Perhaps, in some Escheresque way, Germany roads all go only downhill? They also lobbied for car manufacturers to be able to knock an arbitrary 4% off the emissions readings. All in all, the testing cheats that our governments fought for have been thought to underestimate CO2 by 14%. That’s definitely evil.
*Disclaimer – I own a diesel VW, and my second thought was, “what on earth is that going to do the resale price of my car?”