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Settlement Funds Could Connect 100% of U.S. Highway System with Electric Vehicle Chargers
Statement by Mike Litt, Consumer Program Advocate at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, on today’s final VW settlement involving about 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.
“Thirteen months after news of Volkswagen’s emission scandal broke, compensation for consumers and the environment is finally in sight.
Although we originally called for buybacks at full purchase price, the inclusion of up to $10 billion for buybacks at pre-scandal trade in value and additional monetary compensation is a big win for consumers. We applaud the inclusion of monetary compensation for lessees who choose to terminate their lease without penalty and for owners who choose an emissions fix if and when one is approved by regulators. Eligible customers can file a claim for buybacks, lease terminations, or emission fixes at www.vwcourtsettlement.com.
We are also pleased to see a settlement that provides $2.7 billion in environmental mitigation funds for states to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution and requires VW to invest an additional $2 billion in infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicles.
Volkswagen polluted our air with false promises of “clean diesel” technology. This is our chance to invest in reliable clean technology that will reduce pollution now and transition our country to a zero emissions future. We urge states to seize the opportunity to invest the maximum allowed, or 15% of the environmental mitigation funds, into electric vehicle charging stations and the rest into electric buses. Such an approach could connect 82% of our highway system with a network of 2,700 electric vehicle charging stations across 135,000 miles of American highways and significantly shift the market towards electrification of our transportation systems.[i]
Additionally, VW could connect the remaining highway miles with EV chargers by using just 4.4% of the separate Zero Emission Vehicles infrastructure investment funds for that purpose. In other words, we could conceivably connect 100% of the U.S. Highway System with electric vehicle charging stations by using only about 10.5% of the environmental-related funds in the VW settlement.
Civil penalties and criminal charges not covered by this settlement will also be necessary to make VW pay for one of the largest corporate scandals in history.”
U.S. PIRG Education Fund is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations that stand up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at uspirgedfund.org.
[i] These calculations are based on an approximate $150,000 per charging station that combines fast charging with multiple level 2 (slower) chargers, intervals of 50 miles in between charging stations, and a total of over 164,000 miles in the U.S. Highway System. See Danny Katz, CoPIRG and Will Toor, SWEEP, The Volkswagen Settlement, accessed at http://www.copirg.org/reports/cop/volkswagen-settlement 18 October 2016 and Federal Highway Administration, Highway Finance Data Collection, accessed at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/pubs/hf/pl11028/chapter1.cfm, 18 October 2016.
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