When it comes to its diesel engines, Volkswagen was publicly trying to work the regulation system as far back as 2011. That's when the Obama Administration announced stricter US greenhouse-gas emissions standards for 2025. At the time, VW was saying its diesel engines were as clean or even cleaner than hybrids and some plug-in vehicles, The New York Times says, citing former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officer Margo Oge.

VW did indeed boycott Obama's announcement of the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards four years ago. The reason given at the time was that VW's attempt for its diesel engines to get special consideration and extra credits for fulfilling the emissions mandate was ultimately rejected by the EPA. Oge said VW's US executives were conciliatory but the automaker's German officials were "arrogant" in their belief that diesel technology was far superior, from an emissions standpoint, than hybrids or plug-ins.

As we know now, that was not the case. Last month, we learned that VW fitted as many as 11 million vehicles around the world with software that programmed its diesel engines to show artificially low emissions levels during testing. In the ongoing fallout, VW has set aside $7.3 billion to address the scandal and the CEO resigned. New VW CEO Matthias Müller says recalls on the diesels in question may go into effect as soon as January in Europe. Meanwhile, among other indignities, Green Car Journal rescinded Green Car of the Year Awards it had bestowed on the 2009 Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI, while Volkswagen's Stock was delisted from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

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