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Volkswagen says its false CO2 emissions numbers weren't as bad as it thought

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It's not easy keeping track of Volkswagen's problems right now. There's the diesel emissions test cheating scandal — which affects multiple engines over several of the company's many brands — and then there's a completely unrelated CO2 emissions issue, where a number of engines were suspected of pumping more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than Volkswagen had stated. Fortunately for VW, the CO2 problem is apparently far smaller than it had previously thought.

In a press release proclaiming the issue "largely concluded," Volkswagen says that vehicle models with annual production figures totaling only about 36,000 units — a drop in the bucket for a global car company — are affected. The number that had previously been thrown around was 800,000 affected cars, which VW now says is "not confirmed." Vehicles that were being sold with incorrect CO2 figures were off by "a few grams on average" and will have their specifications revised, rather than being recalled to bring them into compliance with the old numbers. The European Union's next CO2 emissions target is 95 grams per kilometer, so "a few grams" is not a trivial deviation.

More importantly for Volkswagen, the company says that no "unlawful" deviations were found, and its previous estimate of a €2 billion ($2.2 billion) hit no longer applies. Of course, this doesn't get it out of trouble for its diesel issues, which will likely continue to be a major source of lawsuits, distrust, and financial trouble through 2016.