Volkswagen Update: February 2020

Between Volkswagen and non-VW programs that include eligibility for on-road propane vehicles, school districts have the potential to cover almost the entire cost of a new propane school bus purchase. Here’s the latest.

Over 20 states have publicly announced awards from 44 programs funded by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement. The devil is in the details though. Each state’s funding agency sets its own agenda, thereby setting the tone for which vehicle and fuel type is most likely to secure funding. From the exclusively transit-focused orientation in Georgia to the zero-emission agendas set in California and Washington, each state is approaching the use of Volkswagen funding differently. This diversity is evident in the results so far.

Through January 2020, states have publicly announced and awarded nearly $210 million in Volkswagen funds. Diesel projects far and away exceed all other fuel types, in both funding awarded and vehicles deployed. The simple reason is that diesel-to-diesel replacement projects are typically more cost-effective than diesel-to-alternative fuel projects, stemming from the relatively low incremental cost of new diesel technologies.

But propane is leading in vehicle deployments under the Volkswagen funds due to the school bus sector. Over $18 million awarded has gone towards the deployment of 366 propane-fueled school buses. The largest deployments were seen in Colorado (75), Tennessee (62), Indiana (60), and Iowa (56) with smaller deployments in Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Several states may also create new opportunities or follow up on previous rounds of funding exclusive to school bus. Prior examples include Maryland, Nebraska and Tennessee, which supported the deployment of nearly 100 propane school buses in 2019. Based on previous awards, and open and upcoming opportunities on the horizon, the potential funding landscape for propane looks to be filled with opportunity.

Please contact Chelsea Jenkins at to discuss how best to approach and plan for the next phase of Volkswagen settlement opportunities in your state, as well as other resources like diesel replacement funds. Visit  or for more information.