‘Propane Autogas Makes Sense for VW Settlement Funding’
Special to Fleets & Fuels by Roush CleanTech VP Todd Mouw
States will soon have access to a windfall of funds from the Volkswagen settlement, which includes a $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust. These are funds that transit agencies, school districts and other businesses could potentially use to purchase propane autogas-fueled vehicles.
Reducing NOx is the Goal
The goal of the Environmental Mitigation Trust is to cost-effectively reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the transportation sector. NOx are reactive gases that pollute the air, contribute to acid rain and can trigger health problems. Over the next 10 years, the trust will fund environmental mitigation projects that specifically reduce emissions of NOx.
How does this affect purchasing decisions? Eligible projects for the Environmental Mitigation Trust include class 4-8 bus and class 4-7 medium-duty truck replacement. (VW’s settlement funding will be used to buy back or modify vehicles.)
Propane autogas-fueled transit shuttles, such as the Ford E-350/450 cutaway, and school buses, like the Blue Bird Vision Propane, would be eligible for this funding. Propane autogas is naturally lower in NOx and other toxic pollutants, like greenhouse gases and carbon monoxide, than diesel and gasoline.
Know the Latest on VW Funding
Earlier this year, Wilmington Trust was appointed as the trustee to oversee the administration of the Volkswagen settlement funds. The trustee effective date was established on October 2. Now, each state has 60 days from that date to determine and choose a beneficiary.
The beneficiary is the state-level government entity responsible for developing and awarding its state’s funds. They are state energy offices, environmental protection departments, etc.
Each state will receive a set amount of funding based on the number of affected vehicles sold in the state. State amounts vary from $8 million to $400 million. Refer to the state-by-state listing to see how much your state will receive.
Some states have already selected a beneficiary. You can find the current list on the VW Settlement Clearinghouse site. Once selected, the state beneficiary has 90 days to produce a draft plan for how the funds will be allocated. After the state files its mitigation plan, it must be made public for 30 days for comment. Then, the state’s plan will be sent to the trustee for approval.
If the state allocates funding toward propane autogas vehicles, funds from the Environmental Mitigation Trust could be available early next year. Learn who your state’s beneficiary is and talk with them about your organizations’ propane fleet goals. Be sure to comment during the public input period to make sure your voice is heard. Organizations will need to be prepared to adopt NOx-reducing propane vehicles once the money is released if they want to tap into the funding.
Todd Mouw is vice president of sales and marketing for Roush CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology. Mouw has served as president of the NTEA Green Truck Association. Reach him at [email protected] or 800.59.ROUSH. To learn more, visit roushcleantech.com
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Source: Roush CleanTech with Fleets & Fuels follow-up