Volkswagen federal enforcement action

The trustee for the federal Volkswagen settlement has certified Washington as a beneficiary to the settlement’s environmental mitigation trust. The trust allocates $112.7 million to Washington to mitigate environmental damage caused by pollution from the violating VW vehicles.   

The settlement resolves violations of the federal Clean Air Act after VW installed illegal software that cheated emissions tests on many of its diesel vehicles. Under the settlement, money can be invested in projects that replace or repower eligible vehicles, vessels, and equipment with new less-polluting diesel engines, alternate fueled (compressed natural gas, propane, or hybrid), or all-electric engines and developing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. The Governor designated Ecology to lead Washington's efforts to manage the settlement funds.

Hybrid-electric Jumbo Mark II ferry

We are dedicating up to $35 million to convert the first Washington state Jumbo Mark II ferry to hybrid-electric power. Allowing one of the state's biggest ferries to run primarily on battery power — instead of the ferry's massive diesel engines — will reduce fuel consumption by 400,000 gallons a year. Over the life of the ferry, the hybrid conversion will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 172,000 tons, and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 1,540 tons.  

More importantly, installing batteries and allowing the ferry to run on electric power is the first step toward converting all three of the state's Jumbo Mark IIs to operate solely on battery power. When shore charging infrastructure is complete and all three of the Jumbo Mark IIs are converted, carbon emissions will fall by 48,565 tons every year — the equivalent of taking more than 10,000 cars off the road. 

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47 zero emission electric transit buses

We awarded $13.3 million from the $112.7 million federal Volkswagen settlement to purchase 47 electric transit buses in Benton, Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties. The grants are intended to help cover the additional costs of purchasing an electric bus, compared to a conventional diesel bus. Transit agencies can also use some of the funding to pay for charging stations. Each county received up to $300,000 per bus to reduce diesel pollution. These new buses will eliminate 68,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 tons over the lifetime of the vehicles.

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Funding eligibility and criteria

The federal settlement sets strict criteria for what investments are eligible for funding, including restrictions on engine types, model years, replacement or repower options, maximum funding percentages, and category restrictions. A federal trustee, Wilmington Trust, is in charge of disbursing funds from the federal settlement.

Funding from the federal settlement must:

  • Fully mitigate the total, lifetime excess nitrous dioxide emissions where the violating vehicles were, are, or will be operated.
  • Consider the beneficial impacts of funds on disproportionally impacted communities.

Identifying affected communities

Using data from the Washington Tracking Network’s “Diesel Pollution and Disproportionate Impact,” we identified communities that have historically borne a disproportionate share of the diesel air pollution burden. These priority communities have high-traffic transportation corridors and urban population centers, ports, and industrial facilities that can be sources of diesel air pollution, so they provide the greatest opportunity for Washington to achieve its mitigation plan principles and priorities.

Investing Washington’s federal VW funding

On Nov. 6, 2018, Washington filed its mitigation plan with the trustee after extensive public outreach and public comment period. Now that the plan has been submitted, we can begin requesting funds. The mitigation plan was developed by a steering committee with input from:

  • Office of the Governor
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of Financial Management
  • Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Washington State Department of Enterprise Services
  • Washington State Department of Transportation

Additional information on the VW settlements

The EPA and Volkswagen entered into multiple settlement agreements that affect all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and tribes. Read more about the three settlements below:

Approximately $3 billion is available for states and tribes to fund projects that mitigate the past, present, and future harm caused by the excess nitrogen oxides emissions released by the affected vehicles. All 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and tribes are eligible to become beneficiaries. Each approved beneficiary will receive a specific amount of money based on the number of affected vehicles registered in their area. For more information on eligible beneficiaries under the federal settlement, visit the Trust website.

VW must provide relief to owners of vehicles that failed to meet federal emissions standards. In accordance with the settlements, the company must remove the affected vehicles from roads or repair emissions software on at least 85 percent of:

  • 2.0 liter vehicles by June 2019.
  • Generation one 3.0 liter vehicles by Nov. 30, 2019.
  • Generation two 3.0 liter vehicles by May 31, 2020.
If VW fails to meet the 85 percent rate, then additional funds must be deposited into the Mitigation Trust.

VW will also offer owners and lessees:
  • Fair replacement value "buy back" (as of Sept. 17, 2015).
  • No cost termination of their lease.
The buyback or termination option will be available to consumers for two years and only applies to the specific vehicles below.
Affected 2.0 vehicles Affected 3.0 vehicles
Jetta (2009-2015) Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014) Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
Beetle (2013-2015) Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
Beetle Convertible (2013-2015) Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
Audi A3 (2010-2015) Audi A8 (2014-2016)
Golf (2010-2015) Audi A8L (2014-2016)
Golf Sportwagen (2015) Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
Passat (2012-2015) Audi Q7 (2009-2016)

For more information about consumer relief and how to file a claim, visit the VW website.

Washington and Oregon joint proposal

As part of the 2.0 liter partial settlement, VW will invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure. VW has established Electrify America, LLC to manage these investments. Of the $2 billion for ZEV infrastructure, Electrify America will invest $800 million in California and $1.2 billion throughout the rest of the nation. Electrify America will provide opportunities for public input on the type and locations of the ZEV projects.

Washington and Oregon jointly submitted a proposal to Electrify America recommending ZEV infrastructure projects in both states. Seattle and Portland were two of the metropolitan areas selected for Cycle 1 funding. During this first cycle, Electrify America will invest $300 million across the country.

Washington also submitted proposals for Electrify America's Cycle 2 investments. The period for submitting formal comments closed on March 1, 2018. However, you can provide feedback on Electrify America's website at any time. 

Examples of ZEV investment projects include:

  • Electric vehicle charging stations at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces, and public sites
  • Electric vehicle fast charging stations available to all vehicles using non-proprietary connectors
  • Brand-neutral community outreach to increase awareness of ZEVs

Visit EPA's website to learn more about this part of the settlement.

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