State Of Maryland, Volkswagen, Reach $33.5-Million Settlement

This follows a suit against VW for ‘defeat devices.’


Baltimore, Md (KM). The State of Maryland has reached an agreement with Volkswagen.  Maryland, along with other states and the federal government, filed suit against the automaker for installing “defeat devices” in their vehicles which have diesel engines, model years 2009 to 2015. These devices make sure that the emission control equipment works properly during mandated emissions testing. but  turn off during normal driving.

“One of the most egregious examples of a corporation skirting the laws, particularly the environmental laws of the federal government, the Clean Air Act, but also the State of Maryland’s Healthy Air Act and Clean Car rules,” says Ben Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

MDE says beginning in 2009, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche installed these devices on several generations of US-market Volkswagen and Audi diesel engines on over a dozen vehicles, including the Audi luxury sedans and high performance Porsche SUV’s. When they were on the road, these vehicles would release up to 40 times the allowable limits on nitrogen oxide gases, which is a harmful pollutant linked to respiratory disease. They’re also a significant nutrient pollutant  to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the Department says.

Under the settlement, Volkswagen will pay a $29-million civil penalty. It will also be required to make zero emission vehicles (ZEV) available in Maryland by introducing three additional battery electric vehicles (BEV’s), including the e-Golf BEV, or its successor or replacement models by 2019. If VW offers a new BEV model in the United States between 2020 and 2025, it must offer that model or its successor in Maryland until at least 2025.

Secretary Grumbles says in addition to the $33.5-million, the State of Maryland will also be receiving  $76-million on top of that from the federal government. He says the money will be put to good use in keeping the air clean. “It will also help us advance our very aggressive agenda for cleaner cars, electric vehicles, reducing emissions from cars,: he says. .

Outside of the money coming in, Grumbles says this lawsuit was worth it. “It’s literally a key to insuring that Marylanders breathe healthy air, and that local waters and the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River are not assaulted by dirty emissions from cars throughout the state and the country,” he says.

In June, 2016, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced at $15-million settlement between Volkswagen and Audi with his agency’s Consumer Protection Division. Under that agreement, VW would provide $5100 for each affected customer, and require the company to buy back to modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. It also prohibits VW from using future or unfair deceptive practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators. The company must also provide $73-million to support environmental mitigation programs.

“It’s literally a silver lining to a dark cloud that arose when the Volkswagen scandal first became known,” say Secretary Grumbles.


By Kevin McManus