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There may never be a full fix for Volkswagen diesels in the US

An official with the California Air Resources Board points out the eventuality that's been hanging over our heads all along.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

That light at the end of the tunnel might turn out to be a solitary lightbulb swinging in the middle of a never-ending slog.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

One of the two regulatory bodies overseeing Volkswagen's diesel debacle is the California Air Resources Board. It's responsible for verifying and signing off on any fix for VW's beleaguered 2.0 TDI engines, and it's already rejected one solution outright. Now it appears that CARB is wising up to the reality that there might never be a light at the end of the tunnel.

As part of a series of never-ending hearings surrounding Volkswagen and its misdeeds, a member of CARB's enforcement division laid it all on the table: "Unfortunately, [fixing vehicles and returning them to their certified configuration] may not be possible," CARB's Todd Sax said, according to a Reuters report.

"We will have to decide what the best approach is to dealing with these vehicles, and one of the options potentially would be to accept something less than a full fix," Sax continued.

Of course, that doesn't mean Volkswagen would get to wipe its hands clean and walk away unscathed. Reuters reports that any partial solution would be made up for by Volkswagen paying "to mitigate the harm caused" in allowing potentially over-polluting cars on US roads. There are no current projections regarding a figure of that nature.

Both sides are determined to find a full solution, though. VW and CARB are still working with the US Environmental Protection Agency to come up with a solution that satisfies all parties, and the feds have yet to decide on whether or not VW's most recent submitted remedy can pass muster.

Neither Volkswagen nor CARB immediately returned a request for comment.