The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new emission standards for cars and light trucks, and lower sulfur content in gasoline.

The Tier 3 standards, as they are called, would be phased in starting 2017. They would cover cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles and some heavy-duty vehicles.

EPA aims to cut non-methane gases and nitrogen oxides as well as particulate matter in order to reduce the harmful effects of pollution.

It says that by 2030 the standards would prevent between 820 and 2,400 premature deaths per year, among other benefits. The annual savings would be between $8 billion and $23 billion, the agency says.

The agency’s estimate of the cost is about a penny per gallon of gasoline.

Petroleum suppliers say the cost will be considerably higher. The rule will increase refiner’s costs and raise the price of fuel by as much as 9 cents per gallon, said Bob Greco, Downstream Group Director of the American Petroleum Institute in a statement.

He also said the rule will have little or no environmental benefit.

Trucking interests do not expect the rule to have much affect on the industry.

“We don’t see the Tier 3 Rule as having a big impact on our fleet operations but it may possibly result in a slight increase in fuel costs for those light-duty trucks that consume gasoline,” said Glenn Kedzie, vice president and energy & environmental affairs counsel at American Trucking Associations in an email.

Trucking used almost 15 billion gallons of gasoline in 2012, he said. That’s less than half the annual amount of diesel burned by trucks, according to several sources.

ATA supports cleaner fuels, Kedzie added.

“ATA is on record calling out for all fuels to be cleaned up to help improve the nation’s air quality,” he said. “Cleaner air benefits all entities regulated, including stationary and mobile sources.” 

Trucking already has been through the process of taking sulfur out of diesel fuel. Through a multi-year effort, refiners reduced sulfur content to the EPA-required level of 15 parts per million in 2010, although in reality it’s closer to 3 – 5 ppm, Kedzie said.

“Trucking survived the transition to clean diesel and those vehicles that will be impacted by the Tier 3 Rule will transition as well,” he said.

EPA’s proposal will bring national gasoline standards to the same level as those in California. 

 

 

 

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