FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky is expected to get millions of dollars as part of the Volkswagen emissions settlement, and environmental groups are asking state leaders to spend the money wisely.
After admitting to cheating on emissions tests and deceiving customers, the automaker agreed to a nearly $15 billion settlement.
Of that, $4.7 billion will be going to states to reduce nitrogen oxide, or NOx emissions.
Tom Morris, chair of the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club, explains that while investments in electric vehicle technology provide greater NOx reductions, diesel and alternate fuel options are available for funding.
“States could use carbon fuels and meet these needs,” he points out. “That’s not the right way to go. We need to be going totally renewable and promote electric vehicles and not use any carbon fuel.”
This is the final day that folks can share their thoughts on Kentucky’s draft plan on how the state will use its nearly $20 million in Mitigation Trust funds.
The Office of Energy Policy is accepting comments online at eec.ky.gov.
EVolve KY is a grassroots group working to get electric vehicle chargers adopted by businesses and communities across the state.
The group’s president, Stuart Ungar, explains the demand for EV technology is growing as people learn the environmental and economic benefits.
“They save you money by having cheaper fuel,” he points out. “Electricity is cheaper, a lot cheaper. And also electric cars are virtually maintenance free.
“There’s a lot less stuff that can go wrong in an electric car compared to an internal combustion engine car.”
Expanding access to EV charging stations is just one way that Morris says settlement funds can be used to increase electronic vehicle technology in Kentucky. He contends that government fleets should be converted to EV, as well as public transit systems.
“Municipalities could update their bus fleet or school systems, or various entities that have a large number of dirty vehicles could be removing those from the road and using electric power,” he states.
It’s estimated that transit agencies could save up to $45,000 a year per bus on fuel and maintenance if zero emission buses were procured now.