Volkswagen Prepares Its Pollution Penance

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen prepares its pollution penance

After its excessively dirty diesels polluted the nation’s air for years, Volkswagen is on the verge of making environmental reparations in the U.S. and state of California, Bloomberg reports.

The automaker is reportedly in talks with U.S authorities to create two remediation funds aimed at offsetting some of the environmental (and possibly legal) damage resulting from the diesel emissions scandal.

The national fund would be managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, where Volkswagen’s money would go towards promoting low-emissions motoring. The California fund would be managed by the state for the same purposes. (Anyone interested in an electric Volkswagen? Hmm?)

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Volkswagen for up to $46 billion, and the creation of these funds could result in the financial penalty being lowered.

Volkswagen is currently attempting to find a viable fix for the 11 million diesel vehicles recalled worldwide, for which billions of dollars have been set aside to fund. In the U.S., the automaker has until next week to present its plan, though it has admitted that the deadline will come and go without one.

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) admitted many older diesel models likely wouldn’t be able to be fixed, and raised the possibility of allowing the automaker the leniency to deliver only a partial fix.

The partial-fix option would be an alternative to buying back older models sold in California, though CARB would insist that Volkswagen hand over money to offset the future pollution.

Hypothetically, if the national and state-level remediation funds are substantial enough, it is possible the automaker could avoid a U.S. buyback program altogether.

Join the conversation
8 of 21 comments
  • RHD RHD on Mar 17, 2016

    If the culpable at VW will be whipped at the stake and then say a hundred Our Fathers, then the archaic "pennance" is wonderfully appropriate. If it's paying a fine and having an attorney draft an apology to be read by a corporate spokesperson, then "penance" in all its modernity will (not) absolve them of their sins.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 17, 2016

    laserwizard says the money will go to the Democrats. TheDoctorIsOut says the money will go to the Republicans. The articles state it will go to the EPA and CARB, but "zero emission" vehicles sometimes means "fuel cell boondoggle" rather than "EV". It didn't actually say "EV". In any case, laundering VW's money as an ongoing government program is a bad idea. They should have their day(s) in court, pay their fines, and pay off their customers. The problem is, they can't afford it. This is where the reduction of Volkswagen begins: they will eke out a settlement that is severely injurious but not fatal, but also doesn't satisfy the mob outside. Then their market dries up, revenues fall, layoffs begin, and the terrible cycle continues.

    • See 2 previous
    • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Mar 18, 2016

      @28-Cars-Later What? What?

  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Mar 18, 2016

    Sorry to be picky, but someone has to tell you that repentant sinners pay "penance." Baseball teams also win pennants, which is an entirely different thing.

    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Mar 18, 2016

      Penance is for Catholics and Orthodox. We Lutherans have enough certainty in our own forgiveness (as long as we're truly repentant) that we don't feel obligated to complete a set of arbitrary tasks to "earn" it.

  • BMW wanted to make a big deal of their gesture controls when I drove the new 7-series. They also want to make a big deal about the "summon" feature where the car unparks itself while you wait outside the garage. It takes all of a few minutes before you're subconsciously reaching for knobs... Most people DO NOT use automated parking or automated driving on cars that exist right now simply because: #1 they don't trust it. #2 When they want to test it, they've forgotten how to activate it (same goes for ACC) #3 It's just not as fast as if they do it themselves.