Guide Volkswagen Diesel Settlements & Environmental Mitigation

This page summarizes court settlements of diesel emissions fraud complaints against Volkswagen Group of America (VW). It describes options for affected consumers and serves as the intake point for ideas on how Massachusetts should invest settlement funds.

About the VW Settlements

Volkswagen Group of America (VW) admitted publicly in 2015 that it had secretly and deliberately installed software "defeat devices" designed to cheat state emissions tests. Nearly 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines that the company sold or leased to American consumers were affected. 

Residents of Massachusetts own or lease about 14,000 of the affected vehicles which, due to VW's actions, have emitted smog-causing oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at levels of up to 40 times higher than allowed.

In response to complaints filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the attorneys general of several states, including Massachusetts, courts have approved a series of partial settlements resolving some aspects of the case. To date, these partial settlements require VW to:

  • Offer buy-backs, early lease terminations or emissions control modifications to the owners or lessees of at least 85 percent of all affected vehicles.
  • Invest $2 billion to promote the use of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and related infrastructure across the country.
  • Establish a $3 billion environmental mitigation trust to fund national and state projects aimed at offsetting the excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions caused by VW's actions.

Under terms of the court-approved partial settlements, Massachusetts is expected to receive more than $75 million to spend on environmental mitigation projects. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is inviting public input on how best to invest these funds in better air quality, cleaner transportation, and healthier communities.

If You Own or Lease an Affected Vehicle

If you purchased or leased an affected Volkswagen or Audi vehicle with a 2.0-liter diesel engine or Volkswagen, Audi or Porsche vehicle with a 3.0-liter diesel engine, the court-approved partial settlements give you the option of either:

  • Selling it back to Volkswagen (VW) or terminating your VW lease without penalty, or 
  • Bringing your vehicle to a local VW dealer for an Approved Emissions Modification. 

Regardless of the option you select, you will also receive financial restitution from VW. The amount will depend on vehicle type and whether you own or lease. For additional information, visit: VWCourtSettlement.com

Share Your Ideas

MassDEP is broadly interested in using VW Environmental Mitigation Trust funds to:

  • Reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and/or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
  • Promote the electrification of our transportation system, and
  • Improve the health of Environmental Justice areas.

If you have suggestions on how Massachusetts should invest its VW funds, MassDEP would like to hear from you.

Please Complete Our Survey*

The following types of projects are eligible:

  • Purchase and/or repower of specific diesel on-road and off-road engines, vehicles, vessels and off-road equipment.
  • Installation or re-power of airport ground support equipment and shore-side power systems for ocean-going vessels.
  • Purchase, installation and maintenance of charging stations or hydrogen dispensing equipment for light-duty zero emission vehicles (ZEVs).
  • Projects eligible under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA).

See the document in Additional Resources below or the VW settlement for more detailed information about eligible projects.

*Please note that all survey submissions are subject to the Massachusetts Public Records Law and are publicly available upon request pursuant to M.G.L. c. 66 §10.

Additional Resources

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