Environmental Law

Volkswagen to pay $15.3B to resolve emissions-cheating claims

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Volkswagen has agreed to pay $15.3 billion to settle claims over software designed to mislead emissions tests on vehicles with two-liter diesel engines.

The money includes $14.7 billion to settle claims by U.S. regulators and owners of the cars, report the Associated Press, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. It also includes $603 million to resolve consumer protection claims by 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The civil settlement is the largest ever for a car company, and it involves the largest-ever car buyback, according to the stories.

The settlement includes $10.03 billion to buy back the vehicles or repair them—it’s the car owner’s choice—and to compensate the owners with additional payments ranging from $5,100 to $10,000. Vehicles covered by the deal are diesel-powered with models years between 2009 and 2015.

Another $2.7 billion will be set aside for environmental remediation and $2 billion will promote zero-emission technology.

So far, Volkswagen has been unable to develop a repair that will meet standards in the United States and California, according to the Tribune story. That means Volkswagen may have to buy back all the vehicles.

The settlements don’t address potential criminal liability, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I can assure you our criminal investigation is active and ongoing,” she said.

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