ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal want Volkswagen to pay a hefty price for — as they put it — duping those who bought energy-efficient vehicles from them.

“Volkswagen has committed a fraud unprecedented in the annals of automotive history,” Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said. “And now, it ought to pay.”

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Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department to seek an $18 billion fine for the German automaker — the highest possible fine allowed, according to Schumer.

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The senators are also calling for Volkswagen to be forced to returned unfairly earned tax credits that cost the public millions, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

Volkswagen has come under fire after admitting to using software to manipulate U.S. gas emissions tests to pass EPA standards, when in reality, the vehicles equipped with the software emitted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides than standards allow. N.Y. Attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced his office would also be probing Volkswagen in a statement earlier this month.

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“Volkswagen’s fraud…their massive fraud, should be dealt with in the most serious way,” Schumer said.