Invest VW settlement funds in clean diesel, group says

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WASHINGTON, DC – The non-profit Diesel Technology Forum wants funds from a Volkswagen emissions settlement to be used to replace or upgrade some of the oldest and largest diesel engines with the latest “clean diesel” technology.

“As states develop spending plans for their portion of the [US] $2.7 million Environmental Mitigation Trust, replacing or upgrading the oldest and largest engines with clean diesel technology is the fastest and most proven way to reduce NOx emissions and achieve the objectives of the settlement,” said policy director Ezra Finkin, in a presentation during the 2017 Energy Policy Outlook Conference.

The funds are part of a US $14.7-billion settlement between Volkswagen, the U.S. attorney general and Department of Justice, devoted to repowering or replacing older heavy-duty vehicles and equipment with newer NOx-reducing technology. The German automaker had admitted in September 2015 to installing software in diesel cars to cheat emissions tests. As many as 11 million of the vehicles could be affected around the world.

“New clean diesel engines are near-zero in NOx emissions and are the most cost-effective solution in reducing emissions to meet the specific goals,” said Finkin. “For a fixed investment, more NOx can be reduced through investments in clean diesel technology than any other alternative, including natural gas and all-electric applications.”

Many of the engine upgrades would immediately reduce particulate and carbon dioxide emissions, and improve fuel economy, Finkin added. “While not primary objectives of the settlement, policymakers should take into consideration these additional and immediate benefits from the clean diesel options.”

– the original version of this story was updated to include details about Volkswagen’s emissions software

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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