October 9, 2015 — State and city officials in Texas have filed a number of lawsuits against Volkswagen (VW) for violations of consumer protection and clean-air laws regulating vehicle emissions.
Two lawsuits (PDF) were filed yesterday by Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton.
One accuses VW of deceiving consumers by selling cars with software that cheats emissions tests, marketing them as environmentally-friendly “Clean Diesel,” and charging consumers up to a $7,000 premium.
The other lawsuit accuses VW of polluting the environment by selling cars that emit up to 40X the acceptable amount of nitrogen oxide, a toxic gas that can cause asthma and emphysema, in violation of the Texas Clean Air Act.
Attorney General Paxton issued the following statement:
“For years, Volkswagen intentionally misled consumers about the environmental and performance qualities of the vehicles they sold in Texas. When companies willfully violate the public’s trust, a penalty must be paid, and we will hold these entities responsible.”
More lawsuits have been filed at the local level. Harris Count, Texas filed the first government lawsuit against VW. Another lawsuit filed by the city of Dallas accuses VW of violating air-quality laws.
Executives at VW said they were not responsible or aware that illegal software had been installed on the cars to cheat emissions. They blamed the scandal on the work of a few rogue engineers.
Meanwhile, the company has stopped selling new diesel cars in the U.S. until they can pass emissions tests on the road. It could take up to two years to repair and retrofit around 480,000 affected vehicles in the U.S.