How Has the Dieselgate Scandal Affected Air Quality?

How Has the Dieselgate Scandal Affected Air Quality?

The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal started with only the Volkswagen Group but over the years, many well-respected and popular carmakers have been (and continue to be) added to the list. The scandal, which first erupted in September 2015, is considered the most controversial incident that ever happened to the global automotive industry. 

US authorities alleged that the VW Group installed defeat devices in thousands upon thousands of Volkswagen and Audi diesel-powered vehicles sold to drivers in America. The devices illegally control emissions during testing so the vehicle would pass the scrutiny of regulators. 

Defeat devices are programmed to know when a vehicle is in testing. They artificially bring down emissions levels to within the WHO’s (World Health Organization) legal limits. As such, the devices hide real emissions and make the vehicle appear safe for driving even if they release massive volumes of nitrogen oxides or NOx once they are driven on real-world roads.

Volkswagen’s manipulation of diesel emissions increased air pollution levels. Air pollution has been a global dilemma for years but unlawful NOx levels released into the air many times over led to more problems. In 2017, the Environmental Health Analytics came out with a study that proved that the excess deaths of 38,000 across the world are linked to excess levels of nitrogen oxides. Most of the cases happened in Europe, where authorities (at that time) were more focused on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. 

The WLTP or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure is the testing system that the EU uses to test emissions in new vehicles. It is required before a vehicle is approved for sale. Despite the tests, NOx emissions in most areas of the UK have been unlawfully high for years.

Additionally, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution has also increased significantly over the years. In fact, exposure to toxic air has become more dangerous than cigarette smoking. 

Other impacts

Nitrogen oxides are a result of the combination of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. NOx from diesel vehicles are poisonous and have dangerous environmental and health impacts. In the UK, NOx emissions from diesel vehicles are regulated and have been so since the 1960s. 

Air pollution is now considered the primary cause of premature deaths around the world. It is linked to more deaths globally compared to drugs and alcohol, cigarette smoking, and HIV and AIDS. 

Exposure to NOx emissions can cause life-changing health effects. Respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema, asthma, and pulmonary oedema are common impacts of NOx emissions. It is also responsible for around 17,000 cases of cardiovascular diseases (according to 2015 reports) and approximately 64,000 premature deaths throughout the United Kingdom.

Other health impacts include chronic lung disease, diabetes, and cancer. 

If a person has been exposed to NOx for long periods, serious health impacts such as airway inflammation and stroke can change their lives. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can also develop. 

Another possible effect of being exposed to NOx emissions is dementia (due to weakened cognitive health).   

Nitrogen oxides also impact the environment – it helps form acid rain and smog and produces ground-level ozone. These pollutants are responsible for destroying vegetation. 

What carmakers have been doing

Carmakers that have been implicated in the diesel emissions scandal have all been ordered to recall affected vehicles so the engines can be corrected and replaced with the right emissions software. 

The majority of the carmakers have also been paying fines and fees and meeting with lawyers representing aggrieved drivers so they could settle emission claim agreements. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are two of the manufacturers that have finalised settlement agreements with affected car owners. 

However, many car owners are still unaware of the scandal and its consequences, so law firms are working doubly hard to convince them to join GLOs or Group Litigation Orders, a legal diesel claim similar to the United States’ class-action lawsuit. Authorities believe that defeat device-using carmakers should be held responsible for their deceitful actions – and the best way to do this would be for drivers to file for compensation.

What is my diesel claim about?

A diesel claim is a case that you file against your carmaker for installing an illegal defeat device in your vehicle. It is one way of making carmakers see the destruction that their actions have caused – on you, the people around you, and the environment. 

Bring your carmaker to court if you want to help and support the campaign against air pollution. Work with an emissions expert to increase your chances of enjoying a successful claim and receiving compensation. 

Before you can start your diesel claim, however, you have to verify if you are eligible to do so. Visit to complete this step right away. Once you’re done, you can start working on your emission claim.