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EPA Proposes Cleaner Gasoline

Jeremy Fuster |
March 29, 2013 | 5:15 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


(Dan Machold/Creative Commons)
(Dan Machold/Creative Commons)
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with a proposal for new regulations that will decrease the pollution of vehicles and reduce the amount of sulfur in American gasoline, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The proposed regulations will reduce the amount of sulfur in U.S. gasoline by 66 percent. The decrease in sulfur will improve the efficiency of catalytic converters in cars, which decrease the amount of toxic tailpipe emissions released by automobiles. According to NBC News, the result will be reduced tailpipe emissions of harmful chemical particles and compounds by 70 to 80 percent. The standards would take effect by 2017, and are already being enforced in California. 

According to a senior official in the Obama Administration, the new standards would have an impact similar to taking 33 million cars off the road and would add less than a penny to the cost of gas. The administration also says the standards could save $8 billion to $23 billion in health costs and prevent as many as 2,400 deaths a year by 2030.

Oil industry officials, however, say the standards could raise gas prices by as much as 9 cents a gallon, since the new restrictions could force refineries that are unable to produce the new gasoline to close. According to the Associated Press, only 16 of the 111 U.S. refineries would need to make major changes in equipment to produce the new fuel, while 29 refineries -- most in California -- already meet the standards.

From The Washington Post

"Sixteen Democrats in the House and five in the Senate have appealed to the White House in recent days to delay the proposal for a year, while at least 60 congressional Republicans have objected to it.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) told reporters in a call Thursday that if the EPA thinks new requirements are justified, “then they shouldn’t be afraid to lay their cards on the table” and allow at least a year for more public scrutiny.

Bob Greco, group director for downstream and industry operations at the American Petroleum Institute, said the nation’s refiners are struggling to meet other federal environmental requirements, including renewable-fuel mandates.

“Our industry is already facing a tsunami of regulations from EPA,” Greco said. “We’re just making it that much harder for refiners to compete globally and stay up and running.”

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