Federal regulators say they are taking new steps to catch automakers that skirt or defy government rules and regulations.
Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency say the agency is “upping its game” by creating new tests designed to detect if an automaker is purposely violating government regulations.
The move comes in the wake of revelations that Volkswagen used software on 11 million diesel-powered cars worldwide that activated emissions equipment only during testing sessions.
EPA officials say so far only Volkswagen seems to have been involved in such cheating, though it’s unclear whether the company did so to boost torque on the vehicles, increase fuel-efficiency or simply get-around emissions requirements.
But the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says VW’s cheating, combined with the fallout from General Motors’ failure to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches despite being aware of the problem for more than a decade, means the government must challenge all information provided by automakers.
NHTSA officials say the first question must be whether a lone automaker is violating regulations or if it is a practice that extends throughout the entire industry.