(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG will revise fuel economy labels on several gasoline-powered models and pay $96.5 million to drivers after an investigation discovered software that could optimize efficiency during government tests but not during real-world driving.
A joint investigation between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board discovered the automaker had equipped roughly 1 million vehicles with transmission software that causes gear shifts during EPA prescribed test conditions in a way that “sometimes optimizes fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions during the test, but not under normal driving conditions,” the agency said in a statement.
In 2015, the company admitted to rigging diesel vehicles to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. After putting aside some $32 billion to settle lawsuits and pay damages, the automaker faces further claims from disgruntled investors and customers tied to that scandal.
The most recent investigation found that transmission software reduced the fuel economy on about 98,000 gasoline-powered vehicles by 1 mile per gallon, according to the EPA. Volkswagen will forfeit emissions credits for the under-reporting, the agency said.
Affected models are several sedans and SUVs from model years 2013 through 2017 sold by Volkswagen in U.S. under the VW, Audi, Porsche, and Bentley brands.
Separately, VW said it would reimburse drivers of the vehicles with faulty mileage ratings as part of a $96.5 million settlement with private plaintiffs, the company said Friday. The company will pay customers $5.40 to $24.30 for each month of owning or leasing vehicle, the company said.
“Volkswagen is committed to providing customers with transparent fuel economy data for our vehicles, in line with U.S. labeling requirements,” Pietro Zollino, a spokesman for Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement.
(Updates with details of settlement, background and company statement starting in third paragraph)
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