‘Volkswagen emissions scandal could affect half a mn Belgian cars’

Brussels, Sep 27 (IANS) An estimated half a million diesel cars licensed in Belgium could be affected by the Volkswagen diesel emissions-fixing scandal, Belgian economy minister said on Saturday.

Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws quoted Kris Peeters as saying the impact of the emissions manipulation could be particularly high in Belgium because of the popularity of diesel cars, which account for 60 percent of the 5.6 million vehicles licensed, reported Xinhua.

According to the newspaper, Belgian-licensed vehicles bearing the brands Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat could have incorrect emissions ratings, after US regulators uncovered software in some VW motors that was capable of cheating emissions tests.

Economy minister Kris Peeters told Het Laatste Nieuws: “500,000 Belgian vehicles are suspicious. The exact number of motors equipped with this emissions-manipulating software is not yet clear.”

He added: “I have asked Volkswagen to provide rapid clarification on this issue and the level of damages it is planning. The economy ministry will, for its part, be carrying out a legal analysis of the situation.”

Belgium’s love of diesel cars is fuelled by lower prices at the pump. A litre of diesel at a service station is currently priced around 1.18 euros ($1.32), while unleaded petrol is 1.46 euros ($1.63).

The VW emission scandal emerged last week, when the US Environment Protection Agency announced that automobiles with diesel VW engines used software that made it possible to falsify the real values of toxic emissions.

Volkswagen on Tuesday admitted that a total of 11 million diesel cars might have been involved in the emissions manipulation issue.

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