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The Tesla Motors showroom and service center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

In the wake of its 2015 emissions scandal, Volkswagen reached a settlement with the EPA to pay $2.7 billion across all 50 states to make up for unaccounted emissions from non-compliant vehicles. States have been instructed to use these funds to subsidize the purchase of zero-emissions vehicles, as California and New York are already doing.

Why it matters: The trucks, buses, planes and trains that drive the U.S. economy and get us from point A to point B are taking a hazardous toll on the environment, producing 28% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. But with the Volkswagen payout, states will have new means to clean up their transportation sectors, laying the foundation for nationwide electrification.

The details: Each state will take aim at the form of transit most harmful to their immediate environment.

What’s next: With the means to tackle EVs’ notoriously high sticker price, America’s EV market is likely to see a major uptick. Here’s how the industry might change:  

  • 2018–2019: California has been incubating EV technology with existing incentive programs that have accelerated its development and will continue to do so.
  • 2020–2021: Volkswagen funding will spur the nationwide deployment of medium- and heavy-duty EVs, in addition to other zero-emission vehicle technologies (buses, boats, rail, etc.).
  • 2022 and beyond: Battery costs will decrease and EV sticker prices will fall below those of diesel vehicles.

Dakota Semler is the co-founder and CEO of Thor Trucks.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

4 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.