EPA Proposes Tough New Emissions Standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new standards for cars and gasoline that it claims will significantly reduce harmful pollution, and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. These cleaner fuels and cars standards are part of the nation’s program for clean cars and trucks, which also include historic fuel efficiency standards.
According to the agency, the proposal will slash emissions of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses, including reducing smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80%, establish a 70% tighter particulate matter standard, and reduce fuel vapor emissions to near zero. The proposal will also reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, by up to 40%.
By 2030, EPA estimates that the proposed cleaner fuels and cars program will annually prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, 3,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits, and 1.8 million lost school days, work days and days when activities would be restricted due to air pollution. The agency expects total health-related benefits in 2030 to be between $8 and $23 billion annually. The program would also reduce exposure to pollution near roads.
The proposed standards will reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60%down to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017. Reducing sulfur in gasoline enables vehicle emission control technologies to perform more efficiently. EPA expects that vehicles built prior to the proposed standards will run cleaner on the new low-sulfur gas, providing significant and immediate benefits by reducing emissions from every gas-powered vehicle on the road.
The proposed standards will work together with California’s clean cars and fuels program to create a harmonized nationwide vehicle emissions program that enables automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The proposal is designed to be implemented over the same time frame as the next phase of EPA’s national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks beginning in model year 2017.
More information on EPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking
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