In 2016, Volkswagen and the federal government settled allegations that VW violated the federal Clean Air Act by selling vehicles that emitted air pollution over the legal limit, and by cheating on federal emission tests to hide the excess pollution. The affected vehicles exceeded federal limits for nitrogen oxide (NOx), a pollutant that harms public health and contributes to ozone or smog formation.
As part of the settlement, states are eligible to receive funds to pay part of the cost of projects to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and to install electric-vehicle charging stations. Minnesota’s share of the settlement is $47 million. In 2018, MPCA finalized Minnesota’s plan for using the first phase (2018-2019) of funds to improve air quality in our state.