Which Vehicles are Affected?
According to an article that appeared in The New York Times, the affected models include the following:
- Jeep Grand Cherokees manufactured in 2014, 2015 and 2016
- Dodge Ram 1500 diesel trucks manufactured in 2014, 2015 and 2016
There could be as many as 104,000 Fiat Chrysler vehicles that were outfitted with the software, the Times reported.
The Dangers of Nitrogen Oxides
Nitrogen oxides are gases that are made of nitrogen and oxygen, with two of the most common being nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide.
These gases are typically released into the air from the exhaust of motor vehicles as well as the burning of diesel fuel, oil, coal and natural gas. When combined with other organic compounds, nitrogen oxides form smog. When combined with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides can cause acid rain.
But nitrogen oxides are also extremely harmful to humans as well as the environment. When exposure to high levels occurs, it can cause swelling of tissues in the upper respiratory tract and throat, making it very difficult to breathe. It can also result in fluid build-up in the lungs as well as throat spasms. Nitrogen oxide exposure can also result in the following problems:
Long-term exposure can result in severe respiratory issues, including tissue damage and severe coughing. In some instances, this exposure can be fatal.
Another “Cheat Device?”
In its announcement, the EPA stated that the affected vehicles were outfitted with eight emission control devices, but the manufacturer did not disclose that fact to regulators when Fiat Chrysler applied for approval to sell the vehicles in the U.S. According to the agency, the devices appeared to result in the vehicles performing in a different manner when they were being tested compared to when they were in normal use. There was “no doubt,” the EPA said, that the vehicles were illegally emitting pollutants.
The Times reported that the agency’s description of the software was very similar to allegations leveled against Volkswagen. In that case, the EPA accused the German automaker of outfitting several models of cars with software designed to “fool” emissions testing equipment by making it appear that the vehicle’s emissions are in compliance with the Clean Air Act. Once the vehicle senses it is not being tested, it deactivates the software and the car reverts back to emitting illegal levels of pollutants.