Inhofe Makes Case to EPA for NGVs to be Considered in Volkswagen Settlement Agreement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting an update on EPA’s investigation of the Volkswagen diesel emissions issue and EPA’s status of considering natural gas vehicles (NGV) as part of the settlement program.

“Volkswagen has until March 24 to provide the court with an explanation as to how it plans to fix the emissions problem with the diesel vehicles that the company has acknowledged violate emission standards set under the Clean Air Act,” Inhofe said in the letter. “I understand that EPA has requested Volkswagen produce light duty electric vehicles as part of the settlement: in February, Reuters reported EPA 'was asking VW to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to help build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in the United States.’ While EPA has favored EVs in the past and inevitably will continue to do so, EVs are not the only answer to mitigating the Volkswagen emissions issue. If the purpose of the settlement is to remediate the excess nitrogen oxide and other pollutants emitted by compromised Volkswagen light duty vehicles, requiring light duty EV production will have little overall impact.”

“EPA’s favoritism likely stems from Obama’s failed goal of having 1 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015,” Inhofe concluded the letter. “Even though the actual number is around 400,000, the Administration views it as a mandate and will continue to use every opportunity to push for increased EV production. In regards to the Volkswagen case, however, natural gas vehicles should not be dismissed offhand; instead of picking a specific technology winner, EPA would gain more value from including natural gas vehicles – including heavy duty trucks – in the agreement to complement the EV path this administration continues to favor. This could significantly improve air quality in a less expensive, manageable way than choosing to only support the advancement of electric light duty vehicles.”

To read the full text of the letter, click here.