Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations, Cleaner Buses Included in $68 Million VW Settlement Proposal; Consumer, Environmental Groups React to Proposal

DENVER, CO (Aug. 28, 2017) -- Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) released its draft proposal for spending $68 million that Colorado will receive from Volkswagen’s (VW’s) settlement over their emission-cheating vehicles.

Consumer and environmental groups are pleased to see that the proposal directs the maximum allowable amount into a network of electric vehicle charging stations across Colorado, and prioritizes public transportation as a key component to this settlement, sets higher incentive levels for electric buses and trucks than for fossil fuel powered vehicles, and in most cases does not allow replacement with diesel vehicles. This plan is a great start, with its heavy emphasis on electric vehicles. In order to maximize the benefits to our air quality and reduce emissions, we urge that all vehicles purchased with these funds are electric.

“The goal of this settlement is to reduce harmful pollution and positively impact public health as much as possible. To accomplish these goals, the CDPHE needs to electrify our buses and trucks. This is also an opportunity to make sure our whole state benefits from infrastructure that will positively impact our air and quality of life, especially underserved urban and rural communities.”

  • Sophia Guerrero-Murphy, Transportation and Energy Advocate for Conservation Colorado

“Volkswagen’s misleadingly dirty cars emitted pollutants by as much as 40 times over the legal limit. Colorado has an opportunity to use this money in a truly transformative way by focusing on electric cars, buses and trucks. Supporting electrification is the best way to put us on track to where we ought to go – a transportation system with zero emissions.”

  • Danny Katz, Director of CoPIR

“Colorado should seize this opportunity to hit the accelerator for electric vehicles. Because Colorado’s major utilities have been closing their most polluting older power plants and rapidly adding wind and solar, the state’s electricity mix is getting cleaner and cleaner so moving towards electricity as the fuel for vehicles puts us on a path to a zero emissions transportation system.”

  • Will Toor, Transportation Program Director for SWEEP

For more information:

  • An estimated 9,668 Coloradans purchased one of VW’s dirty diesel vehicles that had emission cheating software designed to dodge clean air laws. VW was caught and subsequently reached a settlement that steers $68 million to Colorado that must be used to reduce the smog-forming air pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx). CDPHE is in charge of developing a plan to distribute the money.
  • CDPHE’s plan proposes that Colorado divide the $68 million in the following ways:
    • $10 million to electric vehicle charging stations (the maximum allowed under the settlement for charging stations)
    • $18 million for transit buses
    • $18 million for alternative fuel trucks or buses
    • $5 million for administration
    • $5 million for DERA
    • $12 million in “flex funds”
  • An analysis last fall by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) found that if Colorado invested $10 million into electric vehicle charging stations, as the draft CDPHE plan proposes, it could add at least 60 new fast charging stations for electric vehicles to Colorado roads that could provide an 80% charge in 20-30 minutes. If one of these stations was placed every 30 miles in Colorado, it would be enough to cover I-70, I-25, I-76, and most of U.S. 160, U.S. 550, U.S. 50, U.S. 285 and U.S. 40.

CDPHE plans to hold a public hearing on the draft plan on September 18th, collect public comments into October and finalize a plan by November.