West Virginia sues VW over emissions scandal

West Virginia sues VW over emissions scandal
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West Virginia has sued Volkswagen (VW) over allegations the car manufacturer skirted federal emissions requirements.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey alleged the company violated a state consumer protection law by advertising “clean diesel” vehicles, even as they were equipped with devices to deceive required emissions controls.

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The suit alleges state consumers may have been duped into thinking they were buying more environmentally friendly vehicles — or they paid a premium to do so — and VW was thus “engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices” that broke state laws.

According to the suit, 2,684 of the impacted VW vehicles are registered in West Virginia. The suit seeks a $5,000 penalty for each violation and a refund for consumers who bought the vehicles.

West Virginia is one of the first states to sue VW over the emissions scandal, which came to light last month when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the company of working to avoid the emissions tests.

“West Virginia consumers responded to Volkswagen’s advertising by purchasing TDI clean diesel models, expecting that their vehicles would be environmentally friendly, fuel efficient and high performance as advertised,” Morrisey said in a statement.

“According to the complaint, Volkswagen will not be able to comply with the EPA order to make the affected vehicles comply with emissions standards without substantially degrading their performance and fuel efficiency to a level below what was advertised.”

The company’s use of a so-called defeat device has spawned an EPA investigation, a Department of Justice inquiry and congressional criticism.

Michael Horn, the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, will testify before a congressional committee on the matter this Thursday.