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Will new EPA goals raise gasoline prices or clean air, save lives?

March 29, 2013|Ronald D. White
  • The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed what it called "sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses," while "enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive."
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed what it called… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)

Depends on whom you ask.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed what it called "sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses" while "enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive."

For example, the EPA would reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60%, down to 10 parts per million (ppm), in 2017.

The EPA proposal would bring the rest of the nation in line with standards already in effect in California, the agency said.

"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 EPA said in a press release.

Bad idea all around, the American Petroleum Institute (API), which claimed that it would raise gasoline prices across the nation.

“There is a tsunami of federal regulations coming out of the EPA that could put upward pressure on gasoline prices,” said API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco.

“EPA’s proposed fuel regulations are the latest example. Consumers care about the price of fuel, and our government should not be adding unnecessary regulations that raise manufacturing costs, especially when there are no proven environmental benefits."

But supporters of the EPA proposal said it was absurd to question the environmental benefits.

“These common-sense standards will save lives, save money and clean up our air - all at a minimal cost," said Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Tonachel added: “Big Oil companies want us to believe these benefits aren’t worth it. But that’s because they care about profits above all else.”

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