When it comes to tailpipe emissions, Volkswagen may have leapfrogged Ford and General Motors. Just not in the right direction. That's what the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is saying in the wake of the German automaker's diesel-emissions scandal.

After recalculating what it thinks are the real-world diesel-engine tailpipe emissions levels now that we know about VW's "defeat devices," the UCS says the actual diesel emissions would cause the company's total fleet to worsen its environmental impact by about 25 percent. The VW diesels alone, which account for just 0.7 percent of new-vehicle sales, would most likely make up eight percent of total light-duty-vehicle tailpipe emissions, UCS says.

Prior to the scandal, the UCS had VW tied with Toyota and Nissan for the third-cleanest fleet, behind Hyundai/Kia and Honda. The recalculated VW has been downgraded to Chrysler territory, which is, in effect, the bottom of the heap when it comes to tailpipe emissions. The UCS adds that the current VW diesels spew out the amount of emissions similar to a typical 2005 vehicle. So much for moving forward. You can read UCS' rather scathing synopsis here.

UCS isn't the first entity to bump down Volkswagen's green-car credentials after the discovery that its diesels might be emitting as much as 40 times the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions during typical driving than official test results said they did, and isn't likely to be the last. In September, Green Car Journal stripped the 2009 VW Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI diesels of their Green Car Of The Year Awards. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) also removed VW diesel vehicles off of its "Green Scores" list last month.

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