Volkswagen Dieselgate Could Have Caused 106 Deaths: NYT Analysis

Volkswagen Dieselgate Could Have Caused 106 Deaths: NYT Analysis

While it’s difficult to directly tie deaths to Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, an analysis shows just how deadly it could be.

Unlike GM’s ignition switch recall, which has been tied to at least 124 deaths, the human toll of Volkswagen’s cheating on diesel emissions tests isn’t as clear cut. What we do know is that the German automaker’s diesel engines emitted tons of extra pollutants into the air worldwide, all of which could harm human health. The company has confirmed that it installed illegal software that deceived emissions tests in at least 11 million diesel cars, the majority of which are not in the U.S. Still, an analysis estimates that the extra nitrogen oxides and pollution emitted in the U.S. from Volkswagen’s scandal could have caused an estimated 106 deaths.

To arrive at that estimation, The New York Times looked at power plant pollution, where some counties are subjected to regulations to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions by 350 tons a year. According to a team of three researchers, Olivier Deschenes, Joseph S. Shapiro and Michael Greenstone, the reduced pollution was responsible for about five fewer deaths for every 100,000 people in the affected counties annually, as well as for a decrease in spending on prescription drugs. The excess Volkswagen pollution is estimated to be about 46,000 tons since 2008, or the equivalent of about four percent of the power plant pollution reduction the researchers measured.

SEE ALSO: Green Car Journal Stripping VW, Audi Diesels of Previous Awards

An associate professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at M.I.T., Noelle Eckley Selin, looked at the mortality effects of the particulate pollution produced by nitrogen oxides to arrive at a different estimate. According to Selin, she used numbers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to make health estimates and found that the effects added about 40 additional deaths over the same period, meaning Volkswagen’s diesel scandal could potentially be tied to more than 145 deaths.

Of course, it’s not an exact science to determine just how deadly Volkswagen’s extra pollution has been due to its cheating on diesel emissions tests, but one thing is coming into focus: Volkswagen’s clean diesel isn’t so clean and could even be deadly.

[Source: The New York Times]

  • Paul

    What a crock of hypothetical BS. Do some real journalism guys.

  • earl

    Three team researchers with too much time on their hands…stupid.
    Maybe the extra smog caused people to stay indoors and saved their lives…

  • Kent

    I think who ever did that study was sucking diesel exhaust fumes directly from the tail pipe and had brain damage.

  • That has to be one of the worse articles I have ever read.

  • Reckoning Day

    Yet even more bullshit…..

  • Julie

    Could, maybe, possibly. Those words mean absolutely nothing. I COULD find a million dollars in my front yard when I get home. MAYBE, if I was born into a rich family I would not have to work for a living. POSSIBLY the moon will fall out of the sky and splash into the ocean. Maybe Possibly I Could hit the lottery for several hundred million dollars and retire on an island beach. I highly doubt that will ever happen. Peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reckoning Day

    This is the brightest most beautiful comment here. Prepare to be hated by the naysayers….

  • Ok, that is 11 million of the 140 BILLION diesel cars on the road in the world. What about the 150 or so countries where there are no controls, no limits. Just pure black fumes going into the air? How many people are killed by this uncontrolled exhaust in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, India, etc.?
    And nobody cares about how much agricultural equipment puts out.

    While I agree they should be punished for cheating, they don’t need Ralph Nader style frivolous law suits. Those only benefit lawyers and make things more expensive for all.

  • Reckoning Day

    The American military is the worst polluter on earth. They also make much use of Rudolph Diesel’s invention, a German genius.

  • Sources? With 7 billion people on the planet I find it hard to believe there are 20 cars on the road for each person. Other source suggest there are only about 1 billion cars in the world.

  • Reckoning Day

    Math 101. Yup.