The VW Settlement funds are like a giant gift to fleet managers interested in alternative fuel vehicles. Unfortunately, in some ways, this gift is like a complicated toy that’s labeled “some assembly required.”
First, a bit of background: Volkswagen, as part of its emissions violation, was legally required to contribute $2.9 billion to an Environmental Mitigation Trust. The purpose of this trust is to fund actions that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from vehicles. That’s a lot of money to purchase fleet vehicles!
Now, this gift of funds won’t just come down your chimney. The money is allocated to state beneficiaries to distribute, meaning who can use the funds and when will vary by state.
To begin your search for information you can use when making purchasing decisions, start on the VW Clearinghouse website. Once you land on the page, scroll down to find the dashboard titled State Progress and Contacts.
When you click on the dashboard, you’ll see an interactive map of the U.S. in the bottom right corner. Select your state to access your state and local contacts, the lead agency or agencies in your state, and your state’s events, websites or other information.
Once you find out how your state is allocating available funds, you can take action by visiting the website for your state beneficiary or emailing your state’s contact for more information. Transit, fleet and school district decision-makers should also talk with their vehicle sales dealers or an alternative fuel system manufacturer. They are great resources to learn how specifically to take advantage of VW funding.
This funding represents a real opportunity for your fleet to affect positive change in the communities you serve. Alternative fuel buses, trucks and other vehicles emit much lower levels of NOx than their conventionally fueled counterparts, improving air quality while also reducing greenhouse gases. Many, like propane autogas, also save fleets money in fuel costs and maintenance.
Choosing an alternative fuel is a gift to your organization and your community.