In a release, EPA said that following a proven systems approach that addresses vehicles and fuels as an integrated system, the 885-page proposed rules will enable the greatest pollution reductions at the lowest cost. The proposal will "slash emissions of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses," including reducing smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, establish a 70 percent tighter particulate matter standard, and reduce fuel vapor emissions to near zero. The proposal will also reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, by up to 40 percent.
EPA indicated that the proposal supports efforts by states to reduce harmful levels of smog and soot and eases 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. EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said, "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. Today's proposed standards which will save thousands of lives and protect the most vulnerable -- are the next step in our work to protect public health and will provide the automotive industry with the certainty they need to offer the same car models in all 50 states.
By 2030, EPA estimates that the total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between $8 and $23 billion annually. The program would also 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. EPA's proposal is estimated to provide up to seven dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards. The proposed sulfur standards will cost refineries less than a penny per gallon of gasoline on average once the standards are fully in place. The proposed vehicle standards will have an average cost of about $130 per vehicle in 2025. The proposal also includes flexibilities for small businesses, including hardship provisions and additional lead time for compliance.
The proposed standards will 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.
EPA said the proposed standards will work together with California's clean cars and fuels program to create a harmonized nationwide vehicle emissions program that enables automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The proposal is designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as the next phase of EPA's national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks beginning in model year 2017. Together, the Federal and California standards will maximize reductions in GHGs, air pollutants and air toxics from cars and light trucks while providing automakers regulatory certainty and streamlining compliance.
Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee said, "The Obama administration cannot be more out of touch. With hard-pressed families already struggling to afford each fill-up, Congress needs to take a hard look at any new EPA regulation that may raise the price at the pump. We will review this new proposal to make sure that it delivers air quality benefits at the least cost to the driving public while preserving auto and refining industry jobs. This is just another example of an overzealous EPA." Last year, the House passed H.R.4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, which would have deferred the finalization of Tier 3 pending an inter-agency analysis of its impact, along with other pending regulations, on energy prices, jobs, and American competitiveness.
E&C Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) issued a statement saying, "This proposal makes sense and should be finalized as soon as possible. When we clean up the fuel supply, our air gets cleaner and lives are saved. This proposal will also allow the automakers to bring innovative technology to market, creating jobs, saving consumers money, and keeping the U.S. on the leading edge of global manufacturing."
API indicated in a release that, "EPA's Tier 3 proposal would increase the cost of gasoline production by up to nine cents per gallon, according to an analysis by energy consulting firm Baker & O'Brien. If EPA adds a vapor pressure reduction requirement in a separate regulation, it would push the cost increase up to 25 cents a gallon, according to Baker & O'Brien. Separately, gasoline costs would also rise 30 percent by 2015 unless changes are made to federal ethanol mandates, according to a newly-released study by NERA Economic Consulting. Greco also cited EPA's upcoming proposal for new ozone standards that could further increase manufacturing costs."