Largest-ever settlement by the state with automaker adds to $4.7 billion
Volkswagen will pay the state of California an additional $86 million in civil penalties for diesel emissions cheating on top of its $15 billion settlement with the U.S. government. The settlement with the state is just the start of the crisis-hit German automaker’s compensation tour of U.S. states that have independently sued the automaker. The $86 million settlement with California is also the largest amount ever recovered by the state from an automaker.
California will also get a big chunk of the $4.7 billion set aside for zero-emissions and environmental funds that Volkswagen has already agreed to with U.S. authorities; the state will receive $1.18 billion of that amount in zero-emissions tech investments and $380 million for environmental mitigation projects.
These funds represent the single largest chunks of the $4.7 billion earmarked for remedial actions, but California was also the state with the most avid buyers of VW’s diesels; some 86,000 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter cars were sold in California between 2009 and 2015 out of the 482,000 2.0-liter diesels and 85,000 3.0-liter diesels sold nationwide, and the settlement represents $1 million for every 1,000 diesel vehicles sold in the states. The amount of the settlement is also close to what VW expected to pay for the entirety of the diesel recall a year ago.
“We must conserve and protect our environment for future generations and deliver swift and certain consequences to those who break the law and pollute our air,” said attorney general Kamala Harris. “Volkswagen tricked consumers seeking to purchase an eco-friendly car by misleading the public about the level of harmful pollutants their so-called ‘clean diesel’ vehicles were emitting. This additional settlement sends an unequivocal message to Volkswagen and any other automaker that California will aggressively enforce our robust consumer and environmental protection laws.”