Volkswagen’s dishonesty regarding its emissions may have a more positive effect on the environment than you might expect. This week, the German carmaker agreed to commit more than $200 million to a fund with the primary purpose to cut diesel pollution. This is part of Volkswagen’s settlement regarding its 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles that exceeded U.S. emissions limits. An official announcement of the hefty investment is expected to come on Monday, and comes in addition to the $2.7 billion the company agreed to pay as reparations for the emissions of another half-million 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.
Though the VW emissions scandal is now more than a year old, its repercussions have continued and a complete settlement has yet to be reached. As Reuters reports, negotiations involving the car maker, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and lawyers for VW owners have been ongoing for weeks. That said, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who oversaw the latest hearing regarding the car company, noted that the parties had made “substantial progress,” and that he was “optimistic that there will be a resolution.”
Should the $200 million deal come to fruition tomorrow, Volkswagen will have agreed to spend up to $16.7 billion in the name of resolving cheating accusations. But even this is just the tip of the iceberg. Reuters notes that the German manufacturer still has to deal with billions more in fines as part of a different settlement involving the Justice Department regarding an ongoing criminal investigation, as well as a civil suit that alleges VW violated the Clean Air Act.
Since late 2015, Volkswagen has been banned from selling any U.S. diesel vehicles, and it has yet to be determined whether sales will resume. But given the enormous amounts of money the company is pouring into righting its wrongs, the planet may well benefit.