Each morning, my daughter parks in a special spot up at school, a school that promotes sustainability. These prize slots go to kids who drive “green” cars. Hers is a Jetta TDI. It gets great gas mileage and we thought produced fewer diesel emissions than its competitors. But does it?
Volkswagon has just announced that the clean diesel may not be clean after all.
We’ve been VW fans since before she was born. I had a red VW Rabbit I nicknamed Bunny when I was in college. We got a dark green Jetta sedan with tan leather interior when I was expecting her. City dwellers, it was the perfect small car solution for our family, just what we needed to take a baby and groceries home at the same time.
I’ll never forget the day, here in Missouri, in 2008, when we bought two Jettas on the same day. Mine was a Jetta TDI wagon; the other a Jetta TDI sedan. They were two of the first clean diesels available in Missouri. I still remember the conversation up at the kids school when we were talking about this new evolution in green technology at a parent breakfast meeting. Other parents kept asking, “Is it an electric car?” “No.” “Oh, it’s diesel? “That can’t be good for the environment,” they said. It may turn out it was not only not good for the environment but really bad brand management as well. The company allegedly designed software to trick the testers gaging diesel emissions. I still remember what I was told when I incredulously asked the salesman how diesel fuel could be good for the environment? “It gets recycled and is used in other ways by the engine,” he said. Someone even got a tissue out to show us there was no soot coming out of the exhaust.
Fast track to last Summer when the EPA was expected to issue new rulings on limiting carbon emissions from coal plants. I remember thinking to myself, and asking out loud on social media, “Why can’t they just employ the kind of technology my clean diesel car uses to curb emissions? Can’t they reuse emissions before releasing them into the environment?” Why, indeed.
Locally, I have had a great experience with the folks at Dean Team. I have even made them brownies. No kidding. They’ve loaned me cars, washed the ones in service and generally been efficient and responsive. When I called them, they referred me to Customer Care. Customer Care said, “We’re still trying to figure it out but we will make it right.” I went in to talk to a sales manager today to express my disappointment and find out whether my Toureg was affected. He said, at this point, the Toureg doesn’t appear to be since it has a different engine. They’re still asking whether the Passats, Jettas, Golfs and even Audis are among the cars with the illegal software. Hopefully, it isn’t too late for VW to make this right.