GRN Reports:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its finalized emission standards for cars and gasoline aimed at reducing air pollution and saving lives.

Austin traffic - pollutionThese new standards will, according to the EPA:

  • Reduce the thresholds for smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent.
  • Establish a new guideline for the allowed concentration of particulate matter released by cars, making it 70 percent stricter.
  • Reduce vehicle emissions of toxics such as benzene by up to 30 percent.
  • Reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent – down from 30 to 10 parts per million (ppm) in 2017.

The new thresholds for tailpipe pollution will help quickly clear the air of toxics that would otherwise be expected to cause 2,000 premature deaths and an estimated 50,000 respiratory illnesses among children, in part in communities built near freeways, according to the agency.

The EPA spelled out two other key benefits of slashing noxious car emissions: The reduction of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions (from nitrogen oxides), and the enabling of new fuel efficiencies. By cutting sulfur emissions, new cars will be able to go farther on a gallon of gasoline.

Together, the changes are estimated to save American drivers $1.7 trillion over the model years affected of 2012 through 2025, the EPA reported.

“These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment, and a win for our pocketbooks,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By working with the auto industry, health groups, and other stakeholders, we’re continuing to build on the Obama Administration’s broader clean fuels and vehicles efforts that cut carbon pollution, clean the air we breathe, and save families money at the pump.”
The price tag for saving the climate, human health and making cars more efficient is not so much, EPA officials said. Here’s how the agency spelled it out:

“The final standards are expected to provide up to 13 dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards, more than was estimated for the proposal. The sulfur standards will cost less than a penny per gallon of gasoline on average once the standards are fully in place. The vehicle standards will have an average cost of about $72 per vehicle in 2025…”

The final standards are based on input from a broad range of groups, including state and local governments, auto manufacturers, emissions control suppliers, refiners, fuel distributors and others in the petroleum industry, renewable fuels providers, health and environmental organizations, consumer groups, labor groups and private citizens. The agency collected more than 200,000 comments from the public, and heard input at meetings in Philadelphia and Chicago before crafting the finalized standards.

To help suppliers meet the cleaner gasoline standards, the agency will be allowing refiners almost six years to meet the new rules.

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