From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published April 4, 2013 10:02 AM

Cleaner Fuel and Car Standards Proposed by EPA

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for cars and gasoline which will not only improve their efficiency, but also reduce harmful pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses.

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Considering input from auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, these cleaner fuels and cars standards are an important component of the administration's national program for clean cars and trucks.

Transportation is a huge source of air pollution in the United States as the increasing number of cars and trucks lead to smoggy skies and dirty air and unfortunately, pollutants that come from these mobile sources get into the air that we breathe and can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses.

By 2030, EPA estimates that the proposed cleaner fuels and cars program will annually prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, 3,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits, and 1.8 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 $8 and $23 billion annually.

Based on initial feedback from these groups and a thorough rulemaking process, EPA's proposal is estimated to provide up to seven dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards. However, the proposed vehicle standards will have an average cost of about $130 per vehicle in 2025.

The proposal will reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, by up to 40 percent. They will also reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent — down to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017. Reducing sulfur in gasoline enables vehicle emission control technologies to perform more efficiently. This means that vehicles built prior to the proposed standards will run cleaner on the new low-sulfur gas, providing significant and immediate benefits by reducing emissions from every gas-powered vehicle on the road.

"The Obama Administration has taken a series of steps to reinvigorate the auto industry and ensure that the cars of tomorrow are cleaner, more efficient and saving drivers money at the pump and these common-sense cleaner fuels and cars standards are another example of how we can protect the environment and public health in an affordable and practical way," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe.

Read the press release at the USEPA Newsroom.

Polluting car image via Shutterstock.

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