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White House To Clean Up Gas, Auto Emissions

But cutting sulfur content could slightly boost pump price.

by on Mar.29, 2013

The Obama administration is calling for new rules to lower sulfur emissions in gasoline.

The Obama Administration is proposing new rules to reduce the level of noxious sulfur in the nation’s gasoline supply, a move that should reduce emissions – but also add a very small increase in pump prices.

The so-called Tier 3 standards set to go into effect by 2017 would more than offset that increase by improving the nation’s health and saving billions in medical bills, the White House contends. It would yield add-on benefits as lower sulfur levels would permit automakers to adopt even more advanced pollution control systems, several industry executives told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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The Administration previously took steps to reduce sulfur content in the U.S. diesel fuel supply. That has made it possible for the auto industry to meet stringent smog and particulate rules and, in turn, greatly expand the range of high-mileage diesel passenger vehicles available in the United States.

“We know of no other air pollution control strategy that can achieve such substantial, cost-effective and immediate emission reductions,” said Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

Sulfur is a common element found in petroleum and has traditionally remained in diesel and gasoline after the refining process. It has little to no positive benefit, but removing what is little more than a contaminant does have its costs. How much is a matter of debate, however.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Tier 3 rule would add about a penny a gallon, while also boosting the price of a typical vehicle by up to $130. The American Petroleum Institute – which routinely projects an extreme burden from new regulations – has suggested the measure might add anywhere from six to nine cents, or roughly what oil speculators can add to the price of a gallon of gas in a week when they are able to drive up crude prices on global markets.

Nonetheless, in a rare show of bipartisanship, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had tried to get the EPA to delay implementing the new rule.

Petroleum trade groups have also warned that refineries might have to use more energy to remove the sulfur, adding to CO2 emissions.

Of 111 U.S. refineries, the Administration expects just 16 would have to make major modifications to meet the new rules while 66 are close to compliant and the rest are already delivering low-sulfur gas previously mandated in California and several other states that have adopted its tougher emissions standards.

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One Response to “White House To Clean Up Gas, Auto Emissions”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    This sales job is complete nonsense. The Feds and Obama continue to dupe the naive public. I am all for cleaner air but trying to sell these false claims and increased fuel prices under the guise of reduce emissions is just a lie. Obama and the EPA are doing all that they can to force gullible consumers into buying EVs or at least expensive hybrids.