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VW Diesel Emissions Violation Spreads Worldwide

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Sept. 22, 2015—The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Volkswagen AG’s admission to cheating on federal air pollution tests, according to a report by Bloomberg. Roughly 11 million vehicles worldwide are now being included in the investigation of vehicles with diesel engines with software “irregularities.”

On Sept. 18, Volkswagen admitted to fitting some of its U.S. diesel vehicles with software that runs on full pollution controls only when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday, according to the report. Affected vehicles are diesel versions of the VW Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Passat and the Audi A3.

The EPA estimated that the cars with the software, known as the “defeat device,” would pollute 10–40 times the legal limits.

Last week, Volkswagen said it would cooperate with regulators probing gaps between emissions on the road and lab tests on some diesel models. In a statement released Tuesday, VW said that the emission-control software built into U.S. models were used in other VW group diesel cars, expanding the affected vehicles to 11 million.

Republican leaders of the House of Energy and Commerce Committee announced on Tuesday plans to hold a hearing on the VW emissions scandal in the near future.

“We will follow the facts. We are also concerned that auto consumers may have been deceived—that what they were purchasing did not come as advertised,” U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Tim Murphy, R-Pa., who chairs the investigations subcommittee, said in a joint statement, according to Bloomberg. "The American people deserve answers and assurances that this will not happen again. We intend to get those answers.”

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