Thursday Morning: Come on Now [UPDATE]

Come on now,
who do you,
who do you,
who do you,
who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul.
You really think you’re in control.

— excerpt, Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

The kids are all #TBT on Twitter — posting throwback material from their youth, which seems like just yesterday to me. I’ve got socks older than most of the stuff they share. But I have fun with it anyhow, like this Gnarls Barkley song. Perfect to sing at the top of your lungs in the office if you can get away with it.

Speaking of crazy…

Deadline today for Volkswagen
A deadline for a “concrete proposal for getting the polluting vehicles off the road” was due last month on March 24th after U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer gave VW a 30-day period to develop this solution.

That deadline was not met; Judge Breyer offered another 30-day extension as he felt progress was made. Today’s that second deadline, and it’s not clear a technical solution fixing the vehicles will be included in the proposal.

Reports suggest a combination of vehicle buy-backs and financial incentives may be offered along with funding for remediation. But no reports indicate development of true clean diesel technology to replace the emissions control units programmed to defeat emissions testing. Note from LAT’s article:

…The agreement would give some owners the choice of having Volkswagen repair their cars or buy them back, but it does not include plans on how to repair the vehicles, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal hadn’t been made public.
[…]
… But some owners of newer models who get just a software fix may receive little. About 325,000 owners of older cars that require more extensive repairs likely will get more, because the repairs could affect mileage and performance.

In other words, some of the emissions test-defeating software may be replaced with software that actually meets emissions tests, but it may make the vehicles much less fuel efficient.

This is the crazy, right here: Barring a surprise announcement today, there is no commercially-viable clean passenger diesel technology. There never was — not even years after the first so-called clean passenger diesel was sold. That’s the fraud at the heart of Dieselgate.

UPDATE — 4:00 P.M. EDT —
At a hearing this morning in San Francisco, VW agreed on a deal to buy back or repair about 480,000 passenger diesel cars. Details have not yet been released and may not be until June 21st when VW is expected to have finished dotting all I’s and crossing all T’s.

The deal appears to cover 2.0L vehicles, but 85,000 VW-, Audi- and Porsche-brand vehicles with 3.0L engines are still up in the air. This may suggest performance and fuel efficiency are still problems with any emission control unit repairs.

The deal will also include some funds for pollution remediation, but details about remediation efforts are also unavailable.

Here’s Bloomberg’s report on VW, and here’s Reuters.

Guess we’ll save the Google-y bits for tomorrow, leave today for Volkswagen.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
10 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    “there is no commercially-viable clean passenger diesel technology” Sorta like “clean coal” pipe dreams isn’t it?
    .
    Know a guy who bought a VW diesel for the performance and economy, not the eco. He’s happy, but not environmentally conscious. It’s going to be interesting to see if VW offers him enough to give it up.

  2. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (12:42) — He may have no choice but to give it up or fix it if the vehicle violates EPA regs on emissions. If he goes with the fix, it won’t have performance or economy, can only hope diesel fuel prices have dropped enough since he got the car to make the fix palatable.

  3. Peterr says:

    I had some sort of techno-burp and lost it all. I’ll post it here after I figure out the best way to recover it.

    Maybe if you have Marcy call up the NSA, she can get them to restore it for you.

  4. SpaceLifeForm says:

    More Humpty Dumpty’oversight’:

    https://privacyinternational.org/node/853

    “Revealed in a case brought by Privacy International about the use of so-called ‘Bulk Personal Datasets’ and a law dating back to 1984, the extracts show that the UK Government’s intelligence services, GCHQ, MI5, and MI6, routinely requisition personal data from potentially thousands of public and private organisations.”

    No real difference from NSA. All part of the same conspiracy.
    The fascists are “all in”.

  5. lefty665 says:

    Rayne @1:37 Expect if it comes to that he’ll give it up and get something gasoline and supercharged. He’ll continue to pollute when he gets his foot in it and good mileage when he doesn’t. Most of Virginia doesn’t do emissions testing so wonder how that gets enforced locally.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If VW installs s/w that, surprise, accurately reports diesel emissions and, not a coinkydink, erodes the car’s advertised performance, one would think VW should also have to pay real, out-of-pocket, cash compensation to the owner to make up for THAT fraud. The government should also impose a separate, real, out-of-pocket, cash pollution charge for the environmental damage damage caused by VW’s fraud. One would also need from VW various commitments regarding full cooperation and disclosure. None of these arrangements should be hidden from the public by secrecy or non-disclosure agreements. Of course, administration of all this should be by the courts, not some cozy, super-high-cost private law firm administrator.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Agreed. But if the total amount due, to recompense drivers, governments, citizens who have had to breathe dirty air, etc., is more than the company can afford, the company could go under, and loads of innocent people could lose their jobs and health insurance and pensions. Acceptable? I think so.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        VW has lots of assets and even more friends. Any bankruptcy would likely be an offensive strategy, not a sign of weakness. And why not? GM’s bankruptcy (admittedly American, not German), a prelude to its buyout by private equity, allowed it to shed tons of liabilities, not to mention more than half a million unwanted contracts. Delphi, on the other hand, seems to have entered bankruptcy because of seriously inept management (it took a lot to stir Bush/Cheney’s SEC into action), as well as the peculiar arrangements entered into on its divestiture.

  7. by the lakeshore says:

    Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who helped uncover Flint’s lead poisoning said that Flint water plant operator Michael Glasgow should not be categorized with other potential leaders who had a hand in the city’s poisoning.

    “He made mistakes, but I’ve seen nothing in the evidence I’ve uncovered that puts him in the same league as the other instigators,” Edwards said.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/04/snyder_issues_letter_to_ease_e.html

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