Monday, March 03, 2014
EPA Sets Cleaner Fuel and Car Standards
The final standards are intended to cut harmful soot, smog and toxic emissions from cars and trucks. The final standards are designed to also improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases from these same vehicles that will also result in average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over a vehicle’s lifetime. The fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards covering model year vehicles from 2012-2025 are projected to save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.
The final fuel standards could reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent – down from 30 to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017. Reducing sulfur in gasoline enables vehicle emission control technologies to perform more efficiently. New low-sulfur gas could provide significant and immediate health benefits because every gas-powered vehicle on the road built prior to these standards will run cleaner – cutting smog-forming NOx emissions by 260,000 tons in 2018.
The Tier 3 standards cut tailpipe pollution where people live and breathe – reducing harmful emissions along the streets and roadways that run through our neighborhoods and near our children’s schools. By 2018, EPA estimates the cleaner fuels and cars program will annually prevent between 225 and 610 premature deaths, significantly reduce ambient concentrations of ozone and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by about 260,000 tons. That is about 10 percent of emissions from on-highway vehicles, with those reductions reaching 25 percent (330,000 tons) by 2030.
By 2030, EPA estimates that up to 2,000 premature deaths, 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, 2,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits, and 1.4 million lost school days, work days and days when activities would be restricted due to air pollution. Total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between $6.7 and $19 billion annually. The program is designed to reduce exposure to pollution near roads. More than 50 million people live, work, or go to school in close proximity to high-traffic roadways, and the average American spends more than one hour traveling along roads each day.
The final standards are expected to provide up to 13 dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards, more than was estimated for the proposal. The sulfur standards will cost less than a penny per gallon of gasoline on average once the standards are fully in place. The vehicle standards will have an average cost of about $72 per vehicle in 2025. The standards support efforts by states to reduce harmful levels of smog and soot and aids their ability to attain and maintain science-based national ambient air quality standards to protect public health, while also providing flexibilities for small businesses, including hardship provisions and additional lead time for compliance.
To meet the cleaner gasoline standards necessary to reduce tailpipe emissions and protect public health, the agency has built in flexibility and adequate time for refiners to comply. For those refineries that may need it, the program would provide nearly six years to meet the standards. In addition, the agency is giving special considerations to small refiners, while offering provisions for compliance assistance in the case of extreme hardship or unforeseen circumstances. (EPA)