According to a source that has knowledge of the matter, California state authorities will establish their own separate probe of German automaker Volkswagen AG after it admitted to rigging diesel emissions tests in the US.
The company last week also acknowledged it had installed the illegal software in 11 million diesel-powered vehicles that were sold worldwide. Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is already an active participant in the joint probe commissioned by 27 states, might also use California’s tougher environmental laws to start its own separate investigation, said the source, who declined to be named talking to Bloomberg because the proceeds were not public yet. The investigation has been triggered by the September 18 announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that Volkswagen has essentially hacked its own diesel-powered cars to help them easily pass emissions tests while actually polluting many times over when driven on the road.
The EPA said around 482,000 of the 11 million vehicles sold worldwide and using the so-called “defeat” device were delivered to the United States between model years 2009 and 2015. Other US states, including Illinois and Texas, added they would have their own investigations pursued via consumer-protection and environmental laws. Under the Clean Air Act in the US and using the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum per-vehicle penalty, Volkswagen could be forced to pay a fine of up to $18 billion and the automaker also faces numerous class action lawsuits.