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Opinion
The Editors

Volkswagen and the EPA's Dirty Little Secret

Regulators make it too easy for automakers to cheat.
Emissions in tailpipe may be greater than they appear.

Emissions in tailpipe may be greater than they appear.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Cheating reflects badly, first and foremost, on the cheater -- and so it is with Volkswagen, whose shocking manipulation of U.S. emissions tests continues to exact a price in market value, legal costs and reputation. At the same time, it's not unreasonable to ask how the cheating happened in the first place, and that question implicates more than just Volkswagen.

For years, automakers have been able to exploit lax testing systems in the U.S. and Europe. Regulators owe it to both car buyers and the environment to make these systems more rigorous.