Cross-country VW tour photos

Photos from the Road: 

Marcus and Elisabeth are on a mission to return their Volkswagen Jetta SportsWagen to the VW corportate dealership. They’re also delivering our petitions!


Marcus and Elisabeth’s 2010 Volkswagen Jetta SportsWagen TDI pollutes up to 40 times the legal limit of smog-forming pollutants. On behalf of the owners of the 567,000 “clean diesels” sold in the US, the couple is driving from Boulder, CO to VW’s headquarters in Virginia, calling on the company to fully compensate consumers and the environment for the emission scandal.

Leaving the Rocky Mountains behind, the couple left their home in Boulder, CO last week for their cross-country road trip.

“The VW scandal has cost us personally…By returning our 2010 diesel Jetta Sportwagen we hope to catalyze a substantive and meaningful response from VW,” said Marcus. Follow their road trip at 

Elisabeth and Marcus make a pit stop in Abilene, Texas en route to Austin. After extensive thought, the couple bought the Volkswagen “clean diesel” for a combination of reasons, one of which was excellent gas mileage that yielded low carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the car emits high levels of nitrous oxide (NOx).

Elisabeth and Marcus made it to Austin, Texas! This is the first stop on their road trip to deliver their not-so-clean diesel Jetta SportsWagen back to the Volkswagen corporate headquarters. 

Tom “Smitty” Smith (with cowboy hat), Director of Public Citizen Texas and Alfred Stanley, local VW diesel car owner joined Marcus and Elisabeth in Austin, Texas. Alfred is one of the 567,000 owners of the “clean diesel” Volkswagens. 
Follow Marcus and Elisabeth’s story as they stop in Chicago, Detroit, NYC, and D.C. at

This weekend, Marcus was interviewed in front of the Texas state capitol building. “Volkswagen should be held accountable for intentionally deceiving consumers and violating the pollution control regulations that protect our environment,” Moench said at a press conference. 
He was joined in Austin by local Volkswagen customer, Alfred Stanley, Melissa Cubria of TexPIRG Education Fund, Sara Smith of Environment Texas, and Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen 

Taking a “selfie” as they leave Texas, Marcus and Elisabeth will document their thoughts, the stories they experience, and VW’s responses as they travel to return their car to the manufacturer.  Follow their story at 

The Volkswagen Jetta SportsWagen approaches New Orleans, Louisiana at dusk.  

“Fixing the cars is not enough. So that consumers can replace the cars with vehicles that compensate for the pollution already emitted, VW should offer to buy back the cars at full price. The fines paid by VW should be applied to additional projects that offset the damage to people’s health and the environment caused by their ‘defeat devices.’” –Marcus Moench

Seen on the streets of New Orleans, Marcus and Elisabeth pose for a picture with their VW 2010 Jetta SportsWagen. Their cross-country road trip to deliver their car – and our petitions – to VW HQ will be the last time they drive the car.


Mike Litt

Director, Consumer Campaign, PIRG

Mike directs U.S. PIRG’s national campaign to protect consumers on Wall Street and in the financial marketplace by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and works for stronger privacy protections and corporate accountability in the wake of the Equifax data breach. Mike lives in Washington, D.C.