Valuing the human health damage caused by the fraud of Volkswagen

R. Oldenkamp, R. Van Zelm, M.A.J. Huijbregts

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Recently it became known that Volkswagen Group has been cheating with emission tests for diesel engines over the last six years, resulting in on-road emissions vastly exceeding legal standards for nitrogen oxides in Europe and the United States. Here, we provide an estimate of the public health consequences caused by this fraud. From 2009 to 2015, approximately nine million fraudulent Volkswagen cars, as sold in Europe and the US, emitted a cumulative amount of 526 ktonnes of nitrogen oxides more than was legally allowed. These fraudulent emissions are associated with 45 thousand disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and a value of life lost of at least 39 billion US dollars, which is approximately 5.3 times larger than the 7.3 billion US dollars that Volkswagen Group has set aside to cover worldwide costs related to the diesel emissions scandal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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