Part of Volkswagen AG’s recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over its emissions-cheating scandal will be used to fund diesel emissions-reduction efforts in the heavy-duty truck industry.
Announced last week, Volkswagen has agreed to pay up to $15.3 billion in a settlement with regulators requiring the automaker to buy back vehicles and set aside funding for cleaner technologies. The company is setting aside 2.7 billion as an environmental remediation fund.
The emissions-reduction funding will be used to incentivize replacing older heavy-duty diesel vehicles with newer, cleaner-operating replacements, similar to the EPA’s current Diesel Emissions Reduction Act program.
The Diesel Technology Forum said that as of the end of 2015, only a quarter of all commercial vehicles are of the newest generation of clean diesel technology vehicles, produced after 2010.
The technologies included in vehicles after 2010 were designed to create fewer harmful emissions and replacing older vehicles is the fastest way to significantly reduce emissions, according to DTF.
“Accelerating the turnover to the new technology clean diesel engines will achieve substantial NOx reductions,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of DTF. “Significant air quality benefits will accrue to communities across the country if more of these older commercial vehicles are replaced with new or newer diesel engines.”
While the DERA program has provided funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars since 2008, the money from VW’s settlement would represent a significant boost to efforts to replace older, polluting vehicles.
In a recent report, EPA found the DERA had eliminated 335,000 tonnes of NOx emissions since it began.
“The DERA program has a proven record of successfully modernizing and upgrading older vehicles engines and equipment in communities across the country,” said Schaeffer. “Consumers will continue to find the new generation of clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs a competitive choice to meet their personal transportation needs, and clean diesel technology is a key strategy to achieving current and future energy and climate goals.”