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

News & Updates

With Massachusetts set to receive approximately $75 million from the VW Settlement Trust, MassDEP has issued a draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP) on how to expend those funds for public comment.

The draft BMP focuses on the first year of an allowable 15-year timeline for spending. MassDEP plans to spend up to $23.5 million in Year One on:

  • The purchase of electric transit buses in two regions,
  • Expansion of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Massachusetts, and
  • An open solicitation for other mitigation actions eligible under the settlement that would reduce emissions, promote electrification of the state’s transportation network, and serve environmental justice populations.

See Additional Resources below for the draft BMP and background information about its development. Learn more about eligible projects.

MassDEP will accept public comment on the draft BMP through 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 20, 2018.

Before issuing the draft BMP, the agency held a series of regional stakeholder meetings across the state over the winter of 2018 and issued a request for information (RFI) in spring 2018 to obtain data and feedback on how the state should spend VW funds.

Additional Resources for News & Updates

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: VWCourtSettlement.com

Stay Informed

Want to receive periodic updates from MassDEP on the VW settlements, environmental mitigation project planning, outreach events, and more? The agency maintains an email list. Manage your subscription preferences below.

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