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Battle Lines Drawn Over Tailpipe Pollution Rules

The American Petroleum Institute and the American Lung Association have released contradictory reports that, respectively, castigate and praise the EPA’s Tier 3 clean-gasoline proposal.

The agency unveiled the proposed standards at the end of March.

According to the API report, Effects of Light-duty Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gasoline Sulfur Level on Ambient Ozonethe gas rules would not provide measurable ozone air quality benefits, but rather hurt commerce. Refineries have already removed 90 percent of sulfur in gasoline over the last decade, according to the study conducted by environmental consulting group Environ and commissioned by API. Removing the last bit of sulfur left in gasoline, as EPA’s Tier 3 rule proposes, would raise manufacturing costs without leading to measurable ozone reductions, the study concludes.

A Penny for Prevention: The Case for Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards contradicts this assumption. The dueling report by the American Lung Association says Americans would see major health benefits and save billions of dollars if the EPA fully implements the proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicles.

The report finds that by 2030, the Tier 3 standards could prevent more than 2,500 premature deaths annually because of less ozone and particle pollution, prevent more than 3.3 million days missed at work or school, result in $8.5 billion to $22 billion in annual economic and health care benefits, and produce a pollution reduction equivalent of taking 33 million cars off the road.

According to the EPA, the sulfur rules, when in place, will cost refineries less than a penny per gallon of gasoline on average. 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 EPA says.

According to a recent American Lung Association survey, American voters support EPA setting stricter standards on gasoline and tightening limits on tailpipe emissions from new vehicles by a 2 to 1 margin.

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