VW Settlement Brings $2 Billion To California

If the $15.3 billion settlement with owners and government agencies announced Tuesday is approved by a federal judge - which could happen as early as this fall - Volkswagen will spend more than $10 billion to either buy back or fix the cars and compensate owners for their trouble.

Volkswagen will fix or buy back every one of its polluting vehicles on US roads under a $14.7-billion United States deal the automaker has reached to settle lawsuits stemming from its emissions-cheating scandal. Up to $10 billion will go to 475,000 VW or Audi diesel owners, who thought they were buying high-performance, environmentally friendly cars but later learned the vehicles' emissions vastly exceeded US pollution laws. The vehicle company agreed to pay auto owners up to $10 billion to buy back cars that were involved in the scandal.

The settlement also gives Hawaii $7.5 million to fund environmental mitigation projects, and $2.5 million for repeated violations of consumer protection laws.

Volkswagon also announced a separate settlement with at least 44 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that will cost at least $600 million, bringing the total to as much as $15.3 billion.

Those vehicles included various years of Audi's A3 and Volkswagen's Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat.

Volkswagen will also offer to fix the cars free, but any repair that improves the pollution controls is likely hurt acceleration and fuel economy.

The scandal emerged last September when USA regulators revealed Volkswagen had fitted many cars with software to fool emissions tests and had put dirty vehicles on the road.

Volkswagen also announced a $600,000 settlement with 44 other USA states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with regards to the issue.

Volkswagen is bound to buyback the cars at their retail value as of September 2015, just before the scandal broke.

Volkswagen owners like Steve Abernathy were shocked.

"The settlements do not resolve the government's pending claims for civil penalties under the Clean Air Act, nor do they resolve pending claims concerning the 3-litre diesel vehicles". The engines, in fact, emitted harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at rates many times higher than the law permitted.

Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, is still facing billions more in fines and penalties, as well as possible criminal charges. A separate settlement with more than 44 states that will cost $600 million also was announced, according to news reports.

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