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Taxpayers wasted $51 million on VW diesel credits

The scope of Volkswagen's diesel emission rules evasion continues to widen with 11 million vehicles now potentially affected around the world, and the company is setting aside over $7 billion to start paying for it all. However, the costs could go even deeper. In a piece that's well worth a read, an analysis by The LA Times finds that the government distributed as much as $51 million in green car subsidies to buyers of these models in 2009 – the first year of the dishonest engine management software.

The short-term effects of this scandal on VW are already quite dire. On September 21, the company's stock fell over 20 percent at one point on the German exchange, ended down 17.8 percent that day, and have continued to tank. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has forced a stop-sale on 2015 and 2016 diesel models with the 2.0 TDI, and the agency has begun analyzing the 3.0-liter V6 TDI in the Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, and Porsche Cayenne to look for similar issues. The Justice Department has also started a criminal investigation, and the automaker has instituted its own external probe, as well.

The emissions irregularities were first discovered by researchers at West Virginia University and the International Council on Clean Transportation. The EPA and California Air Resources Board were eventually made aware and launched their own investigations.

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