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In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 photo, a woman fills up a gas tank at a gas station in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

EPA publishes huge clean gasoline rule

The Environmental Protection Agency published a 377-page proposed rule in the Federal Register on Tuesday aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions from automobiles, The Hill reports, nearly two months after the controversial regulation was first proposed.

The new tailpipe standards — called Tier 3 — would require refiners to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by more than 60 percent and the amount of nitrogen oxides by 80 percent.

The EPA says that Tier 3 will raise gasoline prices by less than a penny per gallon and yield more than $10 billion annually in health cost savings by 2030.

“Few other national strategies exist that would deliver the same magnitude of multi-pollutant reductions projected to result from the proposed Tier 3 standards,” according to the EPA.

However, the new standards have been heavily criticized because they will raise gas prices. The size of the increase varies depending on the estimate.

An analysis done for the American Petroleum Institute found that Tier 3 would increase gas prices up to 9 cents per gallon. Prices could rise as high as 25 cents per gallon if the EPA tacks on another vapor pressure reduction regulation, according to API.

“Implementing the new requirements would actually increase greenhouse gas emissions because of the energy-intensive equipment required to comply,” said API downstream group director Bob Greco in a statement. “We urge the administration to bring common sense back into the regulatory process. Unnecessary regulations just mean higher costs and lost jobs.”

Environmentalists and the EPA contend that this estimate is too high and ignores the benefits of Tier 3.

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

Refiners have also slammed the new rule, contending it burdens them with more costs. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said that refiners have already reduced sulfur levels by 90 percent, adding that the new standards will cost $10 billion in new infrastructure and $2.4 billion annually in operating costs.

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