SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Owners of Volkswagen diesel cars after upset after finding out the car they thought was eco-friendly was actually a major polluter.

“I live in California, and I don’t want to drive a polluter,” said CBS13 engineer Bob Hess.

But little did he know, his 2014 VW Passat diesel was exactly that.


“My car is probably worth much less today than it was last week,” he said.

Hess is like many who were stunned to find out that the German automaker admitted to fraudulent acts in emissions tests. The sophisticated software would reduce emissions if it detected through its steering wheel and speed that the vehicle was being tested.

The override system would turn off after the test, leaving the vehicles emitting up to 40 times the legally allowed limited of nitrogen oxide.

David Clegern with the California Air Resources Board says the next step will be getting the cars in compliance ASAP.

“You have a certain level of trust there, and VW has certainly violated that trust,” he said. “The certification testing that VW did indicates to us that they should be able to perform under our requirements. We just want to make sure that they have made sure that they perform that way all the time under all conditions.”

The exact fix still isn’t clear, but it will likely be a software update that many experts anticipate will lessen the vehicle’s gas mileage.

Certified smogger Miguel Frias shows how cars are checked by computer and a visual inspection. He says with those changes come concerns, and it may be a wakeup call for the industry.

“I’m surprised they got caught. Has it been done before? Are they still out there?” he said.

No other vehicles or companies have been implicated in the matter.