EPA's New Rules for Clean Cars and Gasoline

In EPA’s leadership blog, Administrator Gina McCarthy announces the agency's new standards to reduce the sulfur content in gasoline by 60% in 2017 and new Tier 3 emission standards for cars and light trucks to reduce criteria and toxic air pollutants

2 minute read

March 5, 2014, 10:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


"The new Tier 3 (tailpipe) standards will also slash of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses. They will reduce smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) by 80%, establish a 70% tighter particulate matter standard (PM2.5), and virtually eliminate fuel vapor emissions," writes McCarthy mostly about what are known as "criteria air pollutants", as opposed to greenhouse gas emissions. [NOX is in both categories].

In addition to improving public health, Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press writes that the reduced sulfur standards in gasoline "helps emission control equipment on cars and trucks perform better". McCarthy notes that applies to both "existing vehicles and on new ones."

From a political perspective, the auto industry alligned itself with environmentalists, while the energy industry stood alone in opposition to the new standards. The American Petroleum Institute claimed the new EPA gasoline regulations are costly and counterproductive, "raising gas prices 10 cents a gallon", writes Alicia Mundy of The Wall Street Journal

Speaking with reporters Monday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy disagreed with that assessment, saying the increase would likely be less than one cent a gallon.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes 12 of the largest makers, supported the new rules. Mike Robinson, a GM vice president, said the rules effectively harmonize federal and various state vehicle-emissions requirements, such as California's. "The benefit from our standpoint is that you get to do this once, instead of several times," he said.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, writes that the new standards are "good news for everyone, but it's especially important for families who live near a major road. According to the American Lung Association, living or working near a major roadway results in a greater risk of health problems, especially for children and teenagers."

Monday, March 3, 2014 in EPA Connect

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