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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, California Air Resources Board Announce $66 Million Agreement with Volkswagen Over “Defeat Devices” in 3.0-Liter Diesel Vehicles

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) today announced an additional $66 million settlement with Volkswagen over the company’s use of “defeat device” software to bypass emissions controls in its Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0-liter diesel vehicles, in violation of California’s environmental laws. 

The settlement, in which California will receive $66 million to mitigate environmental harm, including $25 million to provide incentives for the purchase of zero emission vehicles, is part of a $225 million nationwide agreement, which the California Attorney General’s office negotiated alongside the California Air Resources Board, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  This is the third partial settlement following a landmark $14.7 billion agreement with Volkswagen over defeat devices in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles (of which $1.18 billion will flow to California) and a settlement California obtained from Volkswagen for $86 million in civil penalties.

“Volkswagen exploited Californians seeking environmentally friendly vehicles, harming consumers and our environment in pursuit of profit,” said Attorney General Harris. “We will continue to pursue every possible avenue to hold Volkswagen accountable for violating our environmental protection laws, mitigate the damage that was done, and secure relief and compensation for consumers who were deceived.”

This partial settlement is specific to Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0-liter vehicles, and it is intended to mitigate the environmental harm caused by these vehicles.  It preserves CARB’s claims for civil penalties and prospective injunctive relief.

Volkswagen programmed software in its diesel cars to achieve lower emissions while undergoing testing, but in normal driving conditions, their cars were emitting up to 40 times more harmful nitrogen oxides than allowed by state and federal law.  As part of the agreement announced today, Volkswagen will make additional investments in zero-emissions technology and will complete two “green city” projects in California.

In October, the U.S. District Court approved the $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen over its “defeat device” software to bypass emissions controls in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.  Attorney General Harris and the California Air Resources Board negotiated that unprecedented settlement alongside the U.S. government on behalf of the state of California and were parties to the settlement along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Of the $14.7 billion settlement, Volkswagen will spend approximately $10 billion to buy back or modify 2.0-liter diesel vehicles on which “defeat devices” were installed, and pay $4.7 billion to support environmental programs and promote the expansion of zero emissions vehicles.  $1.18 billion of the $4.7 billion will come to California, with $800 million to be directed toward zero-emissions technology investments and $380 million for environmental mitigation projects in the state.   

The two consent decrees that document this settlement (one consent decree between the United States, California, and Volkswagen, and another between California and Volkswagen) are attached to the online version of this news release at www.oag.ca.gov/news. The agreement is subject to approval by the court following a public comment period.

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