Friday, March 29, 2013

Official: EPA proposes new Tier 3 emission rules, requiring cleaner cars and gasoline in 2017

Official: EPA proposes new Tier 3 emission rules, requiring cleaner cars and gasoline in 2017:
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added a new word to the wider public lexicon today when it proposed new emission and fuel standards for cars and gasoline: Tier 3. This new regulation is "sensible" and will "significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive," the EPA says. Unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees.

The rules (885-page PDF here) would require that gasoline have a lower sulfur content - dropping from 30 parts per million today to 10 parts per million by 2017 - which will make it easier for cars to meet the new reduced tailpipe and evaporative emissions requirements. If the proposed rules take effect, they "will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children," the EPA says. The European Respiratory Journal recently published a study that found that vehicle emissions can cause asthma in children.

Some numbers from the proposed rules: Smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides will need to be reduced by 80 percent. Toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, will need to be cut by up to 40 percent. A particulate matter standard will need to be 70 percent tighter. Fuel vapor emissions will need to drop to "near zero." The rules would go into effect in 2017 and are basically taking rules from the California Air Resources Board and making them valid nationwide.

The EPA says it had "extensive" input from "auto manufactures, refiners, and states," which implies there is broad agreement on the rules. But Republican politicians and members of the gas and oil industy say that gas prices will rise, up to nine cents a gallon, if the EPA gets its way. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-MI, said in a statement that, "The Obama administration cannot be more out of touch" with the economic burden this will place on drivers. The EPA, instead, estimates it'll cost less than a penny a gallon, but it will add an average cost of $130 per vehicle to new cars in 2025.

The Natural Resources Defense Council fought back against the criticism. Luke Tonachel, NRDC senior vehicles analyst, said in a statement that the new standards will save lives at a minimal cost, and that, "Big Oil companies want us to believe these benefits aren't worth it. But that's because they care about profits above all else."
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