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Volkswagen Update: November 2019

Volkswagen Update: November 2019

Since the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal emerged, the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust has only awarded about $205 million. These funds have deployed nearly 2,400 on-road vehicles and installed almost 700 pieces of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. School bus projects have received the highest amount of funding by vehicle type ($89 million) as well as deployments (1,600 buses). The good news? There are still plenty of opportunities to remove older, dirty diesel trucks and buses and replace them with a cleaner-burning technology, like propane autogas. The bad news? The bulk of the funding for school buses has gone toward more diesel buses!

It’s our job to secure funding for the purpose it was developed: to encourage projects that reduce these harmful emissions. In terms of the number of alternative fuel vehicles deployed by this funding, propane school buses are leading the pack with almost 570 deployed using these settlement funds. In a dollar-for-dollar comparison of Type C school buses, buses fueled by propane autogas reduce NOx the most. Propane buses cost $91 per pound of NOx reduced. Diesel buses cost $1,330 per pound of NOx reduced, making propane buses 93 percent more cost-effective. And, electric buses cost $268 per pound of NOx reduced, making propane autogas 66 percent more cost-effective.

We have already seen nearly $26 million in publicly announced propane bus awards, with more announcements coming daily. We’re thankful for the leadership of you, our Blue Bird dealer partners, and our school district customers in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. They are in the process of successfully deploying over 400 new Blue Bird propane school buses.

There is still a tremendous amount of opportunity out there. For the past three years, our government affairs team has worked with the state beneficiaries to develop funding programs that create competitive opportunities and encourage level playing fields for all alternative-fuel technologies.

Please contact Chelsea Jenkins at to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement (and other funding) opportunities in your state. Visit  or for more information.