DieselGate II

  • December 26, 2023

Here we go – again.

Cummins, the maker of diesel engines, has just “agreed” to pay the federal government $1.6 billion as penance for “cheating” federal emissions control requirements. It’s VW all over again – and probably for the same reasons.

Per the catcall media:

The Justice Department accuses Cummins of installing defeat devices — which can bypass or defeat emissions controls — on 630,000 2013-2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines, as well as undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices on 330,000 2019-2023 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines.”

Italics added.

In other words, not necessarily does bypass.

As in the case of VW’s “cheating,” the bypassing probably occurs only occasionally, as under wide open throttle operating conditions. The resultant “emissions” are higher than allowable. But are they significant?

Merrick Beria-Garland, the lead inquisitor, insists yes.

The types of devices we allege that Cummins installed in its engines to cheat federal environmental laws have a significant and harmful impact on people’s health and safety,” he j’ accuses.

But he does not substantiate. 

Instead, he asserts:

Our preliminary estimates suggest that defeat devices on some Cummins engines have caused them to produce thousands of tons of excess emissions of nitrogen oxides.”

Italics added.

“Estimates suggest.” Not facts establish.

As in the case of VW’s persecution, no evidence was put on the table proving that Cummins’ engines have actually harmed anyone. Harm caused no longer being the necessary determinant for punishing people – or companies. The determining criteria is whether the  j’ accused has affronted the authority of the  . . . authorities. That was without question the nut of the federal persecution of VW a few years back. The “cheating” it was accused of doing was so meaninglessly trivial that no one would ever have known about it had it not been for an Inspector Javert-worthy poring over the federal emissions certification test results. In the real world, the j’ accused VWs passed every tailpipe emissions test.

Ergo, they were clean – as VW claimed.

But they were also a problem, as this column has previously mentioned. The problem wasn’t that that VW’s diesel-powered cars were “dirty.” It was that they were too long-range, too efficient and too affordable. As for example the sub-$25k to start TDI (diesel) powered Golfs, Beetles and Jettas VW sold that could go 700 miles on a tank (that could be refilled to full – as opposed to partially charged – in less than five minutes).

It is not a coincidence that VW’s “cheating” on federal emissions certification tests was discovered coincident to the beginning of the hard push to force short-range, inefficient and unaffordable battery powered devices onto the market.

For which there wasn’t (and still isn’t) much of one.

There would probably be even less of one if people were still free to buy long-range, efficient and affordable diesel-powered cars such as those made by VW until as recently as 2016 – the year, perhaps also not coincidentally, that the Orange Man ascended to the imperial purple and among his other malfeasances (in the eyes of the apparat) dialed back the federal regs that decree how many miles-per-gallon the cars we buy are allowed to use. These regs have also lately been conflated with “emissions” regs – carbon dioxide having been rebranded as an “emission,” notwithstanding its emission does not cause pollution.

Something had to be done – and it was.

The apparat – which controls the imperium – discovered that VW had “cheated” and (among his actual malfeasances) Orange Man let the apparat Inspector Javert VW, perhaps not realizing that this dirty business was less about reducing emissions than about pushing electrification. The latter being about taking affordable, long-range vehicles of the market in order to push most people out of the market.

And now it’s Cummins in the dock, j’ accused.

As for “agreed” – that is like a woman agreeing to have sex with a man who is on top of her, holding a knife to her throat. But it is necessary to maintain the appearance of consent.

The inconvenient truth is that “emissions” have not been a problem – in terms of pollution – for literally decades. It is why the air is clean. You can see it for yourself. Just the same as we could see for ourselves that people who weren’t “masking” weren’t dying, either. Not wearing a “mask” being a kind of similar act to “cheating” on federal emissions certification tests.

But just as “masking” was an enforceable requirement (irrespective of the lack of any evidence that harm was caused by not wearing them) so also are federal “emissions” regulations enforceable – and extremely so. The reason why is obvious. If the authority of the federal apparat is successfully affronted, more are apt to affront it and – before you know – the apparatchiks won’t have any authority left to enforce.

The apparat successfully forced VW to stop making long-range, high-efficiency, affordable cars in favor of short-range, inefficient and unaffordable devices.

And not just VW, either.

The car industry was told which way the wind blows – and that they’d better adjust sail. Now it’s time for trucks – which must also in their turn be transitioned into devices that only a few can afford and most don’t want anyhow.

Sadly – like Ned Beatty in Deliverance – Cummins released a statement last Friday that it will “cooperate fully” with its own persecution – possibly into bankruptcy – even though it has “seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith.” 

Look, we don’t want any trouble here. 

Which is exactly how you get more – and worse.

Just ask VW.

. . .

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