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EPA to retest all diesel cars in an effort to discover more emissions cheats

The exhaust of a Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion is photographed in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. The software at the center of Volkswagen's emissions scandal in the U.S. was built into the automaker's cars in Europe as well, though it isn't yet clear if it helped cheat tests as it did in the U.S., Germany said Thursday. A day after longtime CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down, a member of Volkswagen's supervisory board said that he expects further resignations at the automaker in the wake of the scandal. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The exhaust of a Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion is photographed in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. The software at the center of Volkswagen's emissions scandal in the U.S. was built into the automaker's cars in Europe as well, though it isn't yet clear if it helped cheat tests as it did in the U.S., Germany said Thursday. A day after longtime CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down, a member of Volkswagen's supervisory board said that he expects further resignations at the automaker in the wake of the scandal. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reevaluate every light duty diesel vehicle model on the road in the United States today in an effort to discover if any of them feature emissions test-beating software or equipment in the wake of the recent scandal that has rocked Volkswagen. The agency will work with the California Air Resources Board and its Canadian counterpart, Environment Canada, to complete the review as soon as possible.

The new tests, many of which the agencies will keep secret from the automakers, will include on-the-road monitoring of the vehicles, similar to the independent study that uncovered Volkswagen’s scheme to beat the current tests.

Christopher Grundler, Director of EPA Office of Transportation & Air Quality, said on a conference call with reporters that the agency has 23 portable systems, but that they have primarily been used to monitor heavy truck compliance in recent years, adding that light duty passenger cars account for only .2 percent of diesel emission in the United States.

The agency is notifying all automakers that it is stepping up its activities and that it will be keeping their cars longer and driving them further during routine testing, and that it will be borrowing cars from consumers and conducting random audits on cars coming off of the assembly line, as it has previously done.

Current owners of Volkswagen vehicles that are in violation of the emission rules can continue to drive their cars legally, according to Grundler, who reiterated that it is not considered a safety issue.

There is no recall order yet, as a solution to the problem, which affects nearly 500,000 cars in the United States has not yet been found. The EPA says that it is working with Volkswagen on potential solutions and that the impact on consumers will be scrutinized as part of the process.