President Obama — March 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

EPA releases new fuel & emission standards that will save lives and protect the environment


Working together with health officials, vehicle manufacturers, refiners, states, and with input from the general public, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new emission standards for vehicles and fuels that will have a huge impact on public health and the quality of the air we breathe.

The new rules, signed by President Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy today, call for a dramatic reduction in the amount of sulfur in gasoline and will cut emissions of soot, smog, and other toxic substances from cars and trucks. Here is some of what the new rules do:

  • Slash emissions of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses.
  • Reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent.
  • Establish a 70 percent tighter particulate matter standard.
  • Virtually eliminate fuel vapor emissions.
  • Reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent – down from 30 to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017.
  • Cut smog-forming NOx emissions by 260,000 tons in 2018.
  • Prevent between 225 and 610 premature deaths annually.
  • Generate health-related benefits in 2030 between $6.7 and $19 billion annually.
  • Provide up to 13 dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards.

The EPA estimates that the cost to meet the new sulfur restrictions in fuel will result in an increase in the price of gas of less than one penny per gallon (though the wildly profitable refiners say it will be more like nine cents a gallon which makes you wonder if they’re just saying that to justify raising costs which they’ll then blame on “government regulations” later.) The average increase in the cost of a car that will burn fuel more cleanly is only $72 per vehicle in 2025.

I have a friend that was involved with the process of developing the new standards and he confirms that they were developed in cooperation with all of the interested stakeholders, including the refiners and vehicle manufacturers. The result is a new set of standards that will improve our public health, protect the environment, and, taken together with fuel efficiency standards, save the average American driver more than $8,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of their vehicle.

I call that a win for everyone.