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Volkswagen 2.0 L Diesel Settlement

In January of 2016, the United States and the State of California filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen (VW), claiming that it had violated the Clean Air Act. VW sold approximately 500,000 2.0 liter diesel engine vehicles in the United States equipped with “defeat devices” in the form of computer software that allowed vehicles to perform correctly during emissions tests, but in actuality emitted up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx) under normal operating conditions.

On June 28, 2016, the United States lodged a partial settlement with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco and on October 25, 2016, the Court granted final approval of the settlement.  

The settlement is considered partial because it only addresses what VW must do regarding the affected 2.0 liter cars on the road and the pollution from these vehicles. Actions related to the affected 3.0 liter vehicles are still ongoing.

Under the partial settlement, VW is required to do three main things:

  1. Pay $2.7 billion into a mitigation trust to be used to fully remediate the excess NOx emissions from the affected 2.0 liter vehicles. The amount allocated to each state is dependent on the number of affected vehicles registered in the state. South Carolina expects to receive $31.6 million from the mitigation trust. This money can only be used for specific eligible mitigation actions. The lead agency to administer these funds will be determined in the near future.

Eligible Mitigation Actions (See Appendix D-2 of the Partial Consent Decree for more information):

  • Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks (Eligible Large Trucks)
  • Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus, or Transit Bus (Eligible Buses)
  • Railroad Freight Switchers
  • Ferries/Tugs
  • Ocean Going Vessels (OGV) Shorepower
  • Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Eligible Medium Trucks)
  • Airport Ground Support Equipment
  • Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment
  • Light Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment (up to 15% of total state allocation)
  • Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA)-eligible project matching funds
  1. Invest an additional $2 billion ($800 million in California, $1.2 billion across all other states) to promote the use of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and ZEV technology. This money will be distributed at VW’s discretion, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval, over a period of 10 years. See Appendix C of the Partial Consent Decree for more information.  

  2. Remove or perform an emissions modification on at least 85% of the affected 2.0 liter vehicles in the United States. VW will also compensate eligible consumers. To see if you have an eligible vehicle and to learn more about the claim process, visit the VW Settlement Website.