A healthier America or more expensive gasoline — that\’s the choice presented by the Environmental Protection Agency\’s proposal to reduce sulfur levels in gasoline and impose stricter emissions limits on new vehicles by 2017.
The EPA contends these regulations would save 2,400 lives a year and prevent thousands of cases of respiratory ailments in children. The cost of the new regulations compared with their health benefits is minimal, according to the EPA. They will cost oil refineries less than 1 cent per gallon of gasoline once the standard is fully in place, the agency said. Plus, they will add only $130 to the cost of a new vehicle in 2017, according to the EPA. As an added benefit, auto makers will be able to \”offer the same car models in all 50 states,\” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. California already has stricter emissions limits, and the new EPA fuel standard would bring the rest of the nation to those benchmarks.
Not surprisingly, the American Petroleum Institute disagreed with the need for the proposed fuel standard and EPA\’s estimates of its costs. The regulation actually would raise the cost of gasoline production by up to 9 cents a gallon, according to a study by energy consulting firm Baker & O\’Brien. Other proposed regulations could drive gasoline costs even higher, API contends. \”There is a tsunami of federal regulations coming out of the EPA that could put upward pressure on gasoline prices,\” said Bob Greco, API\’s downstream group director. \”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,\” he said. \”We should not pile on new regulations when existing regulations are working.\”
The EPA said its proposed regulations would reduce emissions from volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and fuel vapors, as well as toxic air pollutants such as benzene. Republicans, however, contended Americans can\’t afford higher gasoline prices and promised to review the regulations to make sure their benefits aren\’t outweighed by their costs. \”With $4 a gallon gas the norm in many parts of the country, we cannot afford policies that knowingly raise gas prices,\” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Source: The Business Journals