DEEP: VW Settlement - FAQ

VW Settlement FAQ

General Volkswagen (VW) Settlement Questions

In mid-2015, VW publicly admitted it had secretly and deliberately installed a "defeat device," software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators, in nearly 500,000 VW and Audi branded 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold to American consumers, including approximately 12,000 in Connecticut. These vehicles with "defeat devices", with model years between 2009 and 2015, emit up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than EPA's standard.

It was later discovered that "defeat devices" were also installed in certain 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. These vehicles, with model years between 2009 and 2016, emit NOx up to nine times more than EPA's standard.

EPA has setup a website, www.epa.gov/vw, to provide information regarding the VW Settlement.

In addition, VW created www.vwcourtsettlement.com to provide consumers with information on the settlement and buyback/modification program along with access to all court documents.

Affected 2.0 liter diesel vehicle models and model years:

  • Jetta (2009-2015)
  • Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
  • Beetle (2013-2015)
  • Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • Golf (2010-2015)
  • Golf Sportwagen (2015)
  • Passat (2012-2015)

Affected 3.0 liter diesel vehicle models and model years:

  • Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2009-2016)

Under the settlement VW must offer every owner and lessee of an affected 2.0 liter diesel vehicle the option of a buyback or lease termination. Additionally, VW must offer owners and lessees the option of an emissions modification in accordance with certain performance and design requirements.

VW set up www.vwcourtsettlement.com to provide consumers with extensive information on the settlement and buyback/modification program.

Note: A settlement for affected 3.0 liter diesel vehicles has yet to be reached. It is encouraged that affected consumers follow progress at www.vwcourtsettlement.com.

In addition to allocating over $10 billion for direct compensation to owners of affected vehicles, VW will also put $2.7 billion into an environmental mitigation trust fund to fund projects that will collectively offset the lifetime excess NOx emissions from affected vehicles and committed $2 billion for direct investment in the ZEV (zero emission vehicles) refueling infrastructure and the promotion of ZEVs.

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Commitment

As a result of the VW Settlement, VW is required to invest $2 billion in ZEV charging infrastructure and in the promotion of ZEVs. VW will control this fund and invest $800 million in California and $1.2 billion throughout the rest of the nation, over the next decade.

The ZEV investments required by the settlement are intended to address the fact that consumers purchased these illegal vehicles under the mistaken belief that such vehicles were lower-emitting than others.

Examples of ZEV investment include, for example, level 2 charging at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and public sites, direct current fast charging facilities accessible to all vehicles utilizing non-proprietary connectors, and brand-neutral education or public outreach that builds or increases public awareness of ZEVs.

Connecticut will strongly encourage VW to pursue large investments in Connecticut to enhance our state's ZEV refueling network. While Connecticut ZEV drivers can be "range confident", there still remains an urgent need to expand our fast charging and Level 2 charging capabilities where EV drivers spend their most time: workplaces, retail and other public locations, and, for those living in multi-unit dwellings, at home. In future years, Connecticut will also need to add hydrogen refueling stations to fuel hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles.

Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund

The VW settlement will require VW to fund a $2.7 billion mitigation trust fund. The mitigation trust fund will pay for specifically defined eligible projects that reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx). The total $2.7 billion funding for the mitigation trust fund is intended to fully mitigate the total, lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0 liter diesel vehicles.

The mitigation trust will be administered by a trustee, yet to be selected. Potential trust beneficiaries must then elect to become beneficiaries under the settlement and the trust agreement. All 50 States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and federally recognized Indian tribes may elect to become trust beneficiaries. Each participating beneficiary will receive a specific allocation of funds from the total $2.7 billion that can be used for any specifically defined eligible mitigation action. The allocation structure is primarily based on the number of registered illegal Volkswagen vehicles within the boundaries of each potential beneficiary's jurisdiction.

Pursuant to Appendix D-1 of the VW Partial Consent Decree, once Connecticut becomes a beneficiary, Connecticut's initial allocation will be just over $51.6 million. These funds may be used for any specifically defined eligible mitigation action that will reduce NOx emissions in Connecticut.

There are a number of source categories that are eligible for mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. These source categories include:

  • Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks
  • Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus or Transit Bus
  • Freight Switchers
  • Ferries or Tugs
  • Ocean Going Vessels (OGV) Shorepower
  • Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks
  • Airport Ground Support Equipment
  • Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment

All source categories have their own specific eligibility requirements and allowable reimbursement amounts depending on the type of project. It is recommended that Appendix D of the VW Partial Consent Decree be reviewed for specific requirements.

In addition, a portion of Connecticut's allocation may be used for the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of light duty electric vehicle supply equipment and light duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicle supply equipment.

The only types of diesel non-road equipment that the environmental mitigation trust funds can be used for are:

  • Airport Ground Support Equipment
  • Forklifts
  • Freight switchers
  • Ferries
  • Port Cargo Handling Equipment
  • Ocean Going Vessels Shorepower
  • Tugs

Some of these categories are further defined in Appendix D-2 of the VW Partial Consent Decree as follows:

"Airport Ground Support Equipment" shall mean vehicles and equipment used at an airport to service aircraft between flights.

"Forklift" shall mean non-road equipment used to lift and move materials short distances; generally includes tines to lift objects. Eligible types of forklifts include reach stackers, side loaders, and top loaders.

"Freight Switcher" shall mean a locomotive that moves rail cars around a rail yard as compared to a line-haul engine that move freight long distances.

"Port Cargo Handling Equipment" shall mean rubber-tired gantry cranes, straddle carriers, shuttle carriers, and terminal tractors, including yard hostlers and yard tractors that operate within ports.

"Tugs" shall mean dedicated vessels that push or pull other vessels in ports, harbors, and inland waterways (e.g., tugboats and towboats).

The environmental mitigation trust funds cannot be used for construction and agricultural equipment, pleasure watercraft, recreational equipment such as snowmobiles, dirt bikes or all-terrain vehicles, lawn and garden equipment or any other non-road equipment not specified in the list above unless the trust funds are being used for a non-federal voluntary match under an applicable DERA program.

Comments and suggestions can be submitted to DEEP.mobilesources@ct.gov. Please also include your name and contact information. Any comments received will also be posted on our website.

You can join our email distribution list to be notified of upcoming outreach events, grant programs, mitigation plan development and future VW settlement information.

First, Connecticut will conduct an open, transparent and public process to allow citizens and stakeholders to provide input and comment on its Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. This Plan will be filed with both the Court and the Trustee and will guide Connecticut's project selection process. Connecticut will be looking to implement projects that have immediate and significant NOx reductions, especially in the parts of the state that they are most needed, while also taking into account the associated economic and energy implications.

Comments and suggestions can be submitted to DEEP.mobilesources@ct.gov. Please also include your name and contact information. Any comments received will also be posted on our website.

EPA developed a comparison chart that describes the different eligibility requirements and funding levels for eligible mitigation actions Nos. 1-9 and the DERA option, which is eligible mitigation action No. 10 in Appendix D-2 of the VW Partial Consent Decree.

 

Content Last Updated: January 18, 2017