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 an intake point for ideas on how Massachusetts should invest settlement funds.

Table of Contents

News & Updates

December 2022

MassDEP sought public comment on a Draft Second Amendment to its VW Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, the Commonwealth’s vision for spending the $75 million in settlement funds allocated to Massachusetts over an allowable 15-year timeline.

The document proposes continued funding of projects that help the state:

  • Achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets by cutting air pollution from transportation; 
  • Promote electrification of its transportation network;
  • Drive technological and policy progress;
  • Serve environmental justice populations; and
  • Equitably distribute these benefits statewide.

Specifically, the draft second amendment proposes committing an additional:

  • $26.8 million to regional transit authority electric buses and chargers;
  • $7.5 million to an electrification-only VW Open Solicitation offering; and
  • $50,000 to administrative costs associated with grant disbursements.

This funding, which totals $34.3 million, would fully commit the $75 million allocated to Massachusetts under the VW Settlement. For details, please review the document.

See Additional Resources below for the Draft Second Amendment, the December 2019 First Amendment, the December 2018 BMP, and related information.

Comment period ended January 13, 2023

August 2022

MassDEP submitted its sixth semiannual report to the VW Settlement Trustee, describing the agency's progress in implementing projects and summarizing all of the costs it has expended. 

See documents related to VW Settlement-funded environmental mitigation in Additional Resources below.

Additional Resources for News & Updates

Settlement-Funded Grant & Incentive Programs

There are six grant programs, funded by the Volkswagen Settlement and administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), that are aimed at reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across Massachusetts, while supporting electrification of the state's transportation network.

Additional Resources for Settlement-Funded Grant & Incentive Programs

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. MassDEP is developing a plan for investing these funds in better air quality, cleaner transportation, and healthier communities across the state.

Eligible Mitigation Actions

The following types of projects are eligible or VW Settlement Trust funding:

  • 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 for more detailed information about eligible projects.

Additional Resources for Eligible Mitigation Actions

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:

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