July 13, 2020. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has approved $2.1 million in funding for five private businesses to convert their motor fleets to cleaner alternative fuels as part of the settlement of the Volkswagen (VW) “defeat devices” case. Existing diesel powered vehicles will be replaced with new vehicles that use clean alternative fuels like electricity, propane and compressed natural gas (CNG).

In addition to the funds from the VW settlement, the businesses will spend about $5.2 million of their own money on the new vehicles for a total project cost of $7.3 million. The projects will improve air quality and provide health benefits through reduced vehicle emissions. Use of the cleaner vehicles will cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and also eliminate an estimated 60 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) that cause smog pollution. In addition to NOx reductions, the program will achieve more than 1,600 tons in reductions of carbon dioxide.

The department approved all five alternative fuel vehicle project proposals received:

  • $800,000 to Waste Management for 20 CNG-powered trash haulers
  • $455,000 to IKEA for two electric forklifts and chargers
  • $346,298 to Reston Limousine for two electric shuttle buses and chargers
  • $324,030 to United Airlines for two electric ground support equipment and chargers
  • $173,149 to Dream Management, Inc. for one electric shuttle bus and charger

“This is a partnership to boost environmental health and private sector action for a cleaner and greener future,” said Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We’ll continue to focus on transportation electrification and fleet modernization to drive climate progress.”