Volkswagen is one of the biggest seller of clean diesel engines in the world. It’s also one of the few brands that sells so called “clean diesels” in the United States market. I put clean diesel in quotes when speaking about the US market, because it turns out that VW’s diesel engines haven’t been as clean as they should have been for the US.

According to the EPA, most of Volkswagen’s diesel engines have been producing 40 times the amount of acceptable nitrogen oxide into the air. The issue with this is that nitrogen oxides can do damage to people who already have preexisting respiratory conditions, like asthma. Regardless of the apparent dangers, though, the fact of the matter is that Volkswagen lied.

Volkswagen installed a sort of “defeat device” in many of its diesel -powered cars so they could convince US regulators that its cars passed our regulations. Volkswagen has actually even admitted to this, as it’s been extremely cooperative with the EPA’s investigation. If the EPA fines Volkswagen for this, it could be at a rate of $37,500 per vehicle. That would equate to a total fine of $18 billion dollars for the Volkswagen group.

The vehicles involved in the “diesel-gate” (sorry Tom Brady), 2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle and Golf diesels as well as 2014-2015 Passat and 2009-2015 Audi A3 diesels. Fortunately for Audi, only the A3 models were included in this and shouldn’t count toward too many cars for the four rings.  Though it’s still Volkswagen AG that will be taking the heat, as it’s the company in charge. It’s interesting to see how this will all pan out. If Volkswagen has to pay $18 billion, that could be devastating to the brand’s future.

[Source: USA Today]