You thought raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy numbers to 54.5 mpg would be the end of the cleaning up cars, at least until 2025. You were wrong.
The EPA is going to start holding hearings tomorrow and continue them on April 29 for a proposed Tier 3 emissions revision on the sulfur content of gasoline. The EPA says that the program could go into effect by 2017, and by 2030, it could prevent as many as 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in kids, 3,200 hospital admissions for asthma, and 1.8 million lost school days and sick days at work. The EPA says that it will save between $8 billion and $23 billion annually.
Aside from the missing school days, we think most of the health benefits from cleaner-burning fuels and more-efficient cars are good.
All combustion-engine cars burn fuel and produce evaporative emissions, NOx. Over in Europe, cars with higher emissions are taxed at higher rates; in the U.S. we’ve traditionally focused on fuel economy standards. Currently, U.S. fuels are allowed up to 80 parts per million of sulfur content. The U.S. is proposing lowering that to 20 ppm, or about the same as California’s fuel.
Additionally, the EPA wants to adopt some of the California Air Resources Board’s vehicle emissions standards federally for new cars; states still have independent legislation for how to monitor cars already on the road.
The hearings are scheduled at 10 a.m. for each day at Philadelphia’s Sonesta Hotel, and they’ll be open for public comment. According to Gas Buddy, prices in California are about 40 cents higher per gallon than the national average, currently hovering around $3.91 per gallon in the Golden State. But with all refineries delivering gas to the nation’s pumps with the same standards, it could potentially lower the price of fuel.
Do you think the more expensive refining processes are worth it for a little cleaner air?
UPDATED: While more than a bit biased on the issue, the Clean Air Council sent us a video that shows what happened at the hearing. Sit back and enjoy. Do you agree with them?
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By Jacob Brown