Season 1 Episode 1 of the “Dirty Money” series features a documentary on the Volkswagen “cheating scandal” regarding their clean diesel TDI that was claimed to be emitting too much pollution. The claim is that the company faked it’s test results to make the car emissions look cleaner than they were. Diesels are all over the place but mostly are trucks and are constantly emitting soot and Nitrous Oxide as the main pollutant, the polutant that was bastardized in the Volkswagen Clean Diesels, but these trucks are given a pass so why are cars given such a hard time? The documentary which is based on so called facts presented by the EPA are not exactly as they appear. The NOX emissions are exaggerated. The documentary uses the fear factor to get and maintain the viewer’s attention. This is a technique that many films use for entertainment but I take issue when it’s used to present a real life matter as absolute. The facts are that the emissions violations presented are not absolute. The testing methods are not absolute by any of these agencies. There are differences on how much emissions are emitted when the engine is warm and when changing speed. The documentary fails to present one of the most basic of facts and differences between burning gasoline and burning diesel, diesel is 10% more efficient than gasoline according to and many other scientific sources.** That means for every 100 miles a truck goes a car can only go 90 miles on the same volume of fuel. This is a point to not be taken lightly nor overlooked but the documentary doesn’t touch on this at all because most likely because it becomes too technical to explain, and also less sensationalizes the flaws that are being highlighted. Another point that is disingenuous is that it exposes (what was exposed by the Environmental Protection Agency) the company used monkeys to test how bad the fumes of their “clean diesels” were or were not. In typical dramatic emphasis they show a monkey’s terrified face in what was probably a re-creation not using real fumes of course, but where movie editing comes into play, looking for the one section of film that presents terror in a monkey’s face out of many hours of letting the camera roll. This is one of the most disingenuous things a documentary film maker can do, present the concept that “innocent animlals” are harmed while not even mentioning that they were studied by a human lung institute for betterment of man kind, something that is done routinely by the medical community and accepted overall. The fact is that Volkswagen hired another firm that does this for science.[1] Instead of presenting Volkswagen as trying to make sure their cars were not harming humans, and that they were 10% more efficient than gasoline, they induce all sorts of negative emotions of pain, fear, horror, disgust, etc. to keep viewer attention. All medias were at the time this story developed and broke also on this bashwagen, to bastardize the “big bad company” Volkswagen as this “scandal” emerged mid 2010’s. No one calculates the pollution created by re-manufacturing these cars, to completely replace those recalled and destroyed (what a waste of energy!!!) as what was done in the end to Volkswagen was to force a recall on the hundreds of thousands of these vehicles. What about all that pollution used to remanufacture plastics and all processes of manufacturing and distribution/delivery by diesel trucks! Why not just reclassify those TDI’s as trucks, what is the difference?? Disesel trucks cannot pass the same tests that were forced on the TDI engine yet they remain on all roads polluting daily in amounts that are worse than what the Volkswagen Clean Diesel did. I see these massive diesel trucks driven by one person all the time here in Southern California, they are heavy trucks, driven daily to work, they get less than half the mileage per gallon than the TDI. More waste and pollution yet it’s all legal, but why? The documentary also doesn’t present the problem with government agencies, who are not saints. It’s funny how the public is drawn in to how government can be deemed “corrupt” in one thing yet be considered saints when it comes to “clean air” where such air is bombarded with diesel truck fumes every second. The documentary presents “compelling facts” but it fails miserably in the theme of what makes a truly good documentary or what is now coined as a docuseries. Another film called “Backfire” that was in the works as of 2017 is supposed to be another documentary on this “scandal of the century”. Another thing to consider is SAFETY. There was a diesel spill less than a mile from where I live last week, a big rig overturned as it was hauling a generator, a wide and heavy load that for safety reasons has a police escort. The diesel fuel spilled all over the side of the road into the dry brush in the state where the largest brushfire in history occured recently, California. It did not ignite. If this was gasoline it likely would have and wildfires would have erupted. A diesel car is many times more safer in this accord than gasoline which is so highly flammable. Lives could be saved by switching to diesel as there would be fewer if any fires in diesel crashes. EPA does not consider this fact nor does the aforementioned docuseries episode, emphasis is on drama. Take a look at what happens on a highway when a car ignites gasoline fumes from a spill.

** the article aslo states “When the exhaust from conventional diesel fuel was found to cause cancer, clean diesel engines were developed. Although thousands of conventional diesel fuel-burning vehicles are still on the road, public pressure and environmental organizations have prodded individual states and the federal government to enact legislation and fund replacement programs to take them out of use as quickly as possible.”

Coffee causes cancer [2] why isn’t that being removed? Because it also has benefits. I doubt we’d be able to make as many cars as we do without it. [2]

reference [1]