Diesel death knell? VW diesel emissions fraud added as many as 94 to the US traffic pollution death toll of over 50,000

Source: Forbes
We now know that Volkswagen’s emissions testing fraud killed as many as 94 American residents.  That number is dwarfed by the estimated 53,000 people killed by traffic related air pollution, especially diesel exhaust air pollution, more than are killed by coal-fired power plants.

One side effect of this scandal is a huge amount of public attention on the death toll of diesel exhaust. Is this the beginning of the end for diesel fueled cars and trucks?  Given the existence of zero emissions alternatives, it should be!

The Moving Forward Network has launched the Zero Campaign to help make that happen.  Please check it out, and sign up to help!

For a highlights of the outpouring of concern about diesel exhaust sparked by the VW scandal, read on.

Why Diesel Needs to DieRoad and Track

The important thing is that Western democracies encouraged diesel even though they were perfectly aware of the health hazards posed by diesel particulate exhaust.
If VW’s behaviour hastens diesel’s death, it may lead at last, after so many false starts, to the beginning of the electric-car age.

Nitrogen oxides form murky, dirty air that makes it hard to see and breathe. Most alarmingly, tiny particles of soot found in the dirty air cause about 50,000 heart-related deaths each year in the U.S., according to the AP.

To claim that millions of people are breathing poorer-quality air as a result of the VW emissions deception would not be an exaggeration, said Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute in Boston. “Even the small increase in [nitrogen oxide] from VW diesel emissions is likely to have worsened pollution along the roadways where they have traveled, and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,”

VW scandal puts diesel engines on trial, Detroit Free Press

Volkswagen’s admission it cheated on emissions testing of its “clean diesel” engines has sullied the automaker’s reputation, disrupted the entire industry and put diesel engines on trial in a country that was finally starting to embrace them.

Volkswagen Cheating Scandal Seen Hastening Clean Diesel’s Demise, Bloomberg Business

On Wednesday, the Diesel Technology Forum, a Frederick, Maryland-based non-profit dedicated to promoting the fuel, said that “circumstances involving a single manufacturer do not define an entire technology, or an industry.”


Air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths each year in the U.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Diesel Engines and Public Health, Union of Concerned Scientists