Volkswagen to pay Oregon $85M for emissions fraud

Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced the settlement

Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum at a press conference, June 28 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Volkswagen will pay the state of Oregon $85 million for emissions fraud, Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced on Tuesday morning.

Part of that money will go directly to Oregonians who purchased Volkswagen cars, while part will go to the state for cleanup efforts.

The money comes from both state and federal settlements with the company for deceptive trade practices. Rosenblum says $17 million of it will go to consumer protection efforts.

Volkswagen will spend up to $15.3 billion to settle consumer lawsuits and government allegations that it cheated on emissions tests in what lawyers are calling the largest auto-related class-action settlement in U.S. history.

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 U.S. pollution laws. VW agreed to either buy back or repair the vehicles — although it hasn’t yet developed a fix for the problem. Owners will also receive payments of $5,100 to $10,000, depending on the age of their vehicles.

The settlement also includes $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for research on zero-emissions vehicles. The German automaker also settled claims with 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico for about $603 million. It still faces billions more in fines and penalties as well as possible criminal charges.

Volkswagen has admitted that the 2-liter diesels were programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn them off while on the road. Investigators determined that the cars emitted more than 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in humans. The company got away with the scheme for seven years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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