The diesel emissions scam, also known as the Emissionsgate or Dieselgate scandal, is one of the biggest blunders of the automotive industry. It involves some of the most popular vehicle brands in the world, including Volkswagen, Audi, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Nissan, Suzuki, Renault, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
While the biggest issue that the scandal exposed was the carmakers’ deception of their customers (i.e. lying about the car’s environmental standards), it also brought to light the dangers that emissions bring not only to the environment but to humans as well.
Ever since the scandal broke, governments and environmental campaigners have been implementing one initiative after another. Law firms have been busy, too, encouraging affected car owners to file for diesel emissions compensation from the manufacturers that duped them.
These groups are aware of the negative impact of the Dieselgate scandal.
What is the Dieselgate scandal? What are its negative impacts?
The Dieselgate scandal involved carmakers like VW and Mercedes and their alleged use of defeat devices to cheat on emissions testing. Authorities discovered the devices installed in thousands of the manufacturers’ diesel engines sold across the United States, Europe and the UK, and other parts of the world.
These defeat devices are capable of telling when a car’s emission levels are being tested. Once they detect that such a test is being conducted, they suppress the amount of toxic gases being emitted by the vehicle so it falls within the mandated limits. However, once the vehicle is driven in real-world road conditions, the car reverts to its default emissions levels, which are at least four times in excess of the World Health Organization (WHO) and EU limits.
In essence, the carmakers lied to their customers by telling the drivers that they were buying clean and safe vehicles that do not do any harm to the environment. In reality, though, every time they drove their VW or Mercedes-Benz diesel cars and vans, they were worsening the air pollution levels in their town or city.
The vehicles emit gases known as NOx or nitrogen oxides. NOx is a family of oxides or gases that form as a result of fossil fuel combustion. It has NO or nitric oxide, which is relatively harmless but can become harmful once it combines or reacts with NO2 or nitrogen dioxide. NO and NO2 are the two main NOx molecules (there are others that are in lower concentrations).
Nitrogen oxides from vehicles are formed when nitrogen and oxygen interact in a high-temperature, highly combustible event. This typically develops in fossil fuel power plants and in car engines, particularly in diesel engines where they are found in large amounts.
NOx gases are responsible for the creation of smog that produces the brown haze you see above you, especially in the summertime. NOx is also responsible for the development of ground-level ozone, which is known as the bad ozone for its pollutant characteristics.
Nitrogen oxides also create nitric acid, which contributes to the formation of acid rain.
Plants, particularly vegetation, are greatly affected by NOx emissions as they become weak and susceptible to frost damage and disease.
Nitrogen oxides have numerous health effects on persons that are constantly exposed to them.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Metabolic disorders
- Respiratory illnesses
- Low blood pressure
- Hematologic side effects
- Inflamed airways
- Depression and anxiety
Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxides can lead to:
- Respiratory problems such as colds, coughing, wheezing, and flu
- Intense asthma attacks
- Irreversible damage to one’s respiratory system
- Increased risks of cardiovascular diseases
- Premature death
Air pollution in the UK
According to the WHO, approximately 4.2 million people die every year because of exposure to outdoor air pollution. Reports also show that air pollution causes more deaths in a year compared to vehicular accidents.
A 2020 annual air quality assessment report revealed that the United Kingdom has not been compliant with the NO2 limits, especially in several urban areas. Although there was a slight decrease in the NO2 average roadside concentrations at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the reduction in traffic, road transport emissions in the UK are still in high numbers.
While there are other factors that contribute to the excessive NOx emissions, a large part of the equation comes from the diesel vehicles equipped with defeat devices. This prompted the UK government to come up with measures to help combat bad air. Some examples are the Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ). However, stricter measures need to be implemented. The automotive industry has to come up with sterner rules for vehicles though, especially for those that are involved in the diesel emissions scandal.
Do your part in fighting air pollution
For car owners affected by the emissions scandal, the best way to join in the fight against air pollution is to file a Dieselgate compensation claim against their manufacturers. It’s quite simple, so you don’t need to ask, “How do I file my diesel claim?”
Simply verify from your manufacturer that your vehicle is affected and find a panel of emissions solicitors who are highly experienced. The panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk are good at winning claims and committed to helping you get your Mercedes emissions claim without having to wait for months or years. Get in touch with them now to find out if you are eligible to claim.