What the VW emissions impact means - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What the VW emissions impact means

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Volkswagen cheating scandal grows wider every day.
  
Researchers have already determined the rigged VW engines can produce anywhere from 10 to 40 times legal emissions levels. Channel 3 take a closer look at what that means. 

Every time you press the gas, your gasoline or diesel car emits nitrogen oxides, more commonly referred to as 'NOx.'

"The diesel engine, the combustion takes place under high pressure and temperature. And so that produces a lot of NOx," says Dr. Ignatius Fomunung.

The diesel emits more than a typical gasoline engine.

When exposed to sunlight, it turns into ozone, which leads to smog.
 
"Down where we are, we don't like ozone. NOx is a precursor to ozone," says Fomunung.

Dr. Ignatius Fomunung is an associate professor of civil and chemical engineering at UTC. He has devoted part of his career to studying transportation and air quality issues.

 "I don't understand why if the technology is there, why not just leave it on throughout?"

Auto industry experts believe VW did it to help fuel mileage and performance in its diesel engines.

Besides hurting the Earth, Fomunung says the extra pollution can make people sick.  

"Because they are so tiny they can get into the lungs of people. And those who are already sick or susceptible to other kinds of diseases might become sicker," says Dr. Fomunung.

Bottom line, he says EPA guidelines and emissions testing are in place for good reason.
 
"Without all the standards that we've implemented in the past couple of years starting with the clean air act and its amendments, we will be having really bad air," says Dr. Fomunung. 
 
He thinks the EPA will enforce hefty fines.
     
"It's not a level playing field," says Dr. Fomunung.

Fomunung says Volkswagen may have skirted EPA rules for years but science ultimately revealed the truth.
 
"Science is always helpful. You can't go wrong with science," says Dr. Fomunung.

Members of the same research team that uncovered the VW cheating software, also played a role in a 1998 settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and several heavy duty diesel engine makers, which also sold engines with 'defeat devices.'
 

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