It Worked For Kirk

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Volkswagen takes over from Toyota as number one carmaker in the world, despite the scandal of being caught cheating on emissions tests.


“Despite” the scandal?  Or because of it?  Emissions tests are idiotic and anyone clever enough and bold enough to beat them probably has other good qualities.

From what I understand, it’s standard practice when dealing with the EPA that the actual total emissions are not lowered, they are simply diluted by forcing more clean air or water or whatever through the same discharge outlet.  Too many parts per million of soot coming out the smoke stack?  Don’t lower the total pollutants per pound of fuel used, or per erg of power generated, just increase the total air moving up the smoke stack by installing huge blowers to force more air into the final exhaust.  Tried and approved methods, used widely throughout industry, approved by the EPA.  

 As I understand it, that’s essentially what VW did to pass the test.  But they turned off those useless blowers anytime there was no monitor testing the output since by shutting off the blowers they saved the energy that doesn’t alter the total pollutants one iota, and that energy was diverted to actual work product that moves the car, hence better miles per gallon.  

 The EPA is pissed because VW beat the Kobayashi Maru.

 Joe Doakes

It’s not, fooling Mother Bureaucracy.

9 thoughts on “It Worked For Kirk

  1. Humiliating a bureaucracy? That’s dangerous. They’ll be around longer than cockroaches.

  2. Emissions tests are idiotic and anyone clever enough and bold enough to beat them probably has other good qualities.

    That was my take, exactly. Besides, since we’re all Nazi’s now, it’s good to root for der Fatherland.

  3. solution by dilution?

    EPA had been at war with diesel for a long time. Fact diesel gets more mileage per kw than their precious electric vehicles per is the “inconvenient truth”. But then inconvenient or not, EPA never stopped at foisting non-sensical rules upon defenseless public. Just look at the ethanol mandate – bad for cars, bad for fuel economy, bad for environment, but by golly, you SHALL do it!

  4. I’m with JPA on this. The rap against diesel is that it produces more NoX, but the EPA is more or less regulating NOX to the levels of background–it really only makes much of a difference in urban centers.

  5. bb;

    Diesel NoX levels have dropped quite a bit over the last few years, due to cleaner fuels and the urea diesel exhaust systems.

  6. Worth noting as well; if you want to make a BIG reduction in NOX emissions, you cut corn subsidies. Most NOX emissions are natural or from agriculture. The EPA is really getting close to the point where man-made emissions are not even significant vis-a-vis natural sources.

  7. bosshoss; agreed. Like I noted, human emissions are getting down into the statistical noise, thankfully, and hence not much need to keep driving them down.

    Except for those coming from agriculture. Time to cut corn subsidies.

  8. One final note; given that a car engine is more or less an air pump, “solution by dilution” is pretty much impossible for that in the way that it is for a boiler or power plant. You’d use up all the power the engine generates. Diesel emissions are cleaned with low sulfur diesel (that takes more effort to refine) and urea injection into the exhaust. Some how the urea bonds with the NOX and removes it.

    VW’s workaround was to change the fuel/air mixture to work a little more like a gas engine during test, but then to return to diesel cycle at other times. The big question in my mind is whether we have clear evidence that cars are a significant source, and I’m leaning towards “no”.

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