The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its finalized Tier 3 vehicle emission standards that affect gasoline and cars. The new rules will reduce pollution, particularly the amount of sulfur released in the environment, and are expected to prevent approximately 2,000 deaths and 50,000 cases of respiratory diseases per year, the agency announced.
Under current rules, oil and gas companies are allowed to produce gasoline that contains up to 30 parts per million sulfur but the new regulation will require them to cut the concentration of the chemical further to 10 parts per million. The rules will come into effect in 2017, the EPA said.
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A reduction in gasoline sulfur level allows modern vehicle emission control technologies to function better, bringing immediate environmental and public health benefits. It is estimated that the new regulation will save U.S. households $1.7 trillion in fuel costs by 2025 and will effectively reduce soot, smog and other types of pollution.
The U.S. oil and gas industry has opposed the new regulation, claiming that it would mean huge costs that would also affect the end price of fuel. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the new requirements mean that refiners will have to install expensive new equipment to remove sulfur from gasoline, which will cost the industry about $10 billion and will increase gasoline prices by up to $0.09 per gallon, while they will do little to tackle air pollution.