A Doomed Proposal

Volkswagen cheated me. It wasn’t personal; they cheated all of us who bought the current generation of VW diesel-powered cars, on the faith that they were as environmentally friendly as they purported to be. We even paid a premium for these cars over their gasoline-powered counterparts. Now we’re facing recalls and presumably new engine programming that will make the emissions legal finally, at some unknown cost in performance. Fuel efficiency? Acceleration? Top speed? Whatever performance hit we’re facing, it must be awful if VW thought cheating was better than selling a legal diesel engine.

In the USA, VW is facing fines on the order of magnitude of $25,000 per car sold fraudulently. That’s just the government’s fines. Are they going to make owners whole?

If you accept the premise that many buyers bought exactly because of the purported “clean emissions, high mileage” of these cars, the remedy is to buy us cars that really are clean and very fuel efficient. This leads to my proposal:

VW should buy every deceived owner the electric car of their choice, or, if they prefer, the gasoline-powered VW counterpart to what they bought.

I add the alternative of a gas-powered VW for two reasons: there aren’t enough electric cars made, let alone available, to replace all the fraudulent VW diesels, and some owners might not want an electric car. Even if VW bought every Tesla, Nissan Leaf, electric BMW, Chevy Volt, and whatever else would be legal in the US market, they’d fall short. I suppose adding gas-electric hybrids from Toyota, Honda, and others would come closer to the number of owners to be made whole.

This won’t happen; the cost of this would drive VW USA into bankruptcy, and who knows if the parent company could survive if other countries saw such largess here. But a diesel VW owner can dream.

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