Well, Now We Know . . . by Eric Peters

Consumers are paying a high price for the punishment the government inflicted on Volkswagen. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Well, now we know… how much Uncle’s persecution of VW is costing us – on top of the billions it has already cost Volkswagen.

Are you ready, Freddie?

About seven miles per gallon.

That’s how much the mileage of a 2015 Jetta TDI droops after it gets “fixed” – a term also used by farmers and used in the same manner here as well.

The VWs in question – like young male calves – were not broken. “Fixing” is a euphemism for taking something away . . . .

In the case of the VWs, what’s being taken away – by those who brought their cars in for “fixing”- is their formerlyexceptional fuel efficiency.

And now we know exactly how much of that has been lost.

Originally, a 2015 Jetta TDI carried a window sticker that read 30 city and 44 highway. Behold the new window sticker, affixed to literally legions of “fixed” and still brand-new 2015 and 2016 Jettas which never got sold :

29 city, 37 highway.

These Jettas (and Passats and other TDI-powered VWs) have been sitting idle since the “scandal” broke back in 2015 and are now being re-certified for sale. Part of that process includes updating the window stickers, on which is displayed the EPA’s city/highway mileage estimates.

Like the poor steer, post-“fixing,” these TDI VWs have lost something.

And it’s not a little something, either.

Individual owners of cars that escaped being corralled – and who brought their cars in for the same “fix” – no doubt noticed their cars no longer went as far on a gallon as they once did.

But it was all anecdotal.

Now, it’s official – in Uncle’s own hand, so to speak.

And it makes these cars a lot less appealing, since their “fixed” mileage is hardly much better than the mileage delivered by many gas-powered cars and a lot less than most current hybrid cars.

Which I’ve come to believe is exactly the point of all this.

It’s not the “cheating.”

That’s just the hysterical, deliberately exaggerated window dressing.

Before the “fix” – before the “cheating” scandal erupted like a triple Vesuvius, spraying lava not just all over VW but also over diesels in general – diesels had been making a comeback.

And that was a problem.

VW – and not just VW – had been successfully marketing diesel-powered passenger cars for the first time since the ’70s. The ’70s diesel rep for being slow – and smelly – had been dissipated by the new-generation of quiet, smooth – and not slow – turbo-diesels, which were also extremely fuel efficient and clean-burning.

Have you ever seen black, sooty smoke coming out of the tailpipe of a late-model diesel,VW or otherwise?

Doubtful.

Because – even “unfixed” – modern diesel emissions are as close to nil as those of modern gas-engined cars.

Don’t take my word for it.

Look at the EPA’s “bins” and “tiers” – which is their almost-impenetrable way of categorizing allowable emissions levels. The difference between what was acceptable (and considered “clean”) circa 2000 and what is acceptable today is almost . . . vaporous, is the right word.

It’s a pedantic incremental/fractional always upticking – but one of very diminishing returns.

The “unfixed” – the “cheating” – cars emitted fractionallymore oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions under certain government testing conditions, which VW adjusted its software (engine programming) to compensate for.

That’s all.

A small effect on emissions – but one that resulted (once “fixed”) in a huge effect on the mileage of these vehicles – which explains why VW “cheated.” For VW to take such an enormous risk – affronting Uncle – there had to be tremendous gains, in terms of what they could deliver customers.

And there were.

I’ve used the example of using a radar detector to avoid speed traps as an analogy. Certainly, VW “cheated” – in the same way that a radar detector helps a driver “cheat” a speed trap.

But back to the point of all this – the reason for the hysterical, exaggerated abuse leveled at VW out of all proportion to any tangible harm caused by their “cheating” – and the brutal effect of the “fix” applied to the “cheating” cars.

They were just too god-damned good for their own good. The latest escalation of “bins” and “tiers” was meant to make it impossible for diesels to be both compliant and fuel-efficient and affordable.

VW – to its credit – attempted to get around this vicious, evil business.

I test drove every TDI-powered car VW made, pre-“fix” – including the TDI-powered Jetta. It exceeded the EPA’s city/highway numbers, as people who own these cars will also tell you. I got better than 50 MPG on the highway out of them.

And you could buy one for about $22,000.

Well, you used to be able to.

VW doesn’t sell TDI-powered anything anymore – except for dealers unloading the backed-up inventory of “fixed” 2015 and 2016 cars, which have been “fixed” just as a steer is “fixed.”

There’s not much reason to buy one anymore – because these cars no longer deliver the huge mileage advantage vs. gas-powered cars that they used to deliver.

And that, dear reader, is the point of all of this.

To geld the resurgence of clean, efficient diesel-powered passenger cars – especially the affordable ones which VW uniquely specialized in.

These cars made hybrid and electric cars look bad.

Made them look stupid.

Excepting the virtue-signalers, who would choose to spend a couple thousand bucks more to buy a gas-electric hybrid that only had a slight mileage advantage? And who would spend $30,000-plus on an electric car with literally a third the range – that  also required its owner to wait for hours while its battery recovered charge – when he could have been hours down the road in his diesel-powered alternative?

Now, perhaps, you see.

And if you do, it all begins to make sense.

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