| WASHINGTON, March 8
WASHINGTON, March 8 A U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency watchdog plans to review whether the agency's
internal controls are effective at detecting vehicle emissions
fraud, the EPA's Office of Inspector General said.
In a memo dated Monday, the inspector general said it will
"begin preliminary research to determine whether the EPA’s
existing internal controls are effective at detecting and
preventing" light- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions fraud.
In September 2015, the EPA said it would review all U.S.
diesel vehicles following an admission from Volkswagen that it
installed software in 580,000 vehicles allowing them to emit up
to 40 times the legally permissible level of pollution.
That extensive review prompted a delay in certification of
some new diesel models last year.
VW sold vehicles with excess emissions for more than six
years without EPA detecting the illegal software. VW, which is
set to plead guilty on Friday as part of a plea agreement with
U.S. prosecutors, has agreed to offer to buy back about 500,000
vehicles and agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United
States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators,
states and dealers.
The EPA said at the time it would conduct more spot checks
of light-duty vehicles and submit them to real-world driving
conditions. It told automakers in 2015 that the EPA would test
"using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be
expected to be encountered in normal operation and use.”
An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment.
As part of the review of other vehicles, the EPA accused
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in January of illegally
using undisclosed software to allow excess diesel emissions to
go undetected. Fiat Chrysler denied wrongdoing and Chief
Executive Sergio Marchionne said the automaker was trying to
resolve the issue.
EPA and the California Air Resources Board said Fiat
Chrysler failed to disclose engine management software in
104,000 U.S. 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500
trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines. The undisclosed software
results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides.
The Justice Department, a group of state attorneys and the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Fiat
Chrysler's excess emissions.
EPA is reviewing other automakers' emissions systems, but it
is not clear whether they have found any additional wrongdoing.
EPA is still reviewing some Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz
Daimler said in April that the U.S. Justice Department had
asked the carmaker to investigate its emissions certification
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)