(Washington, D.C. – March 29, 2013) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today praised the long-awaited proposal of updated standards to reduce soot, smog and other dangerous types of tailpipe pollution from cars and light trucks.
The updated national vehicle emissions and fuel standards, commonly referred to as Tier 3, were unveiled today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“The new Tier 3 standards will make our cars cleaner, and that means we’ll have cleaner air to breathe,” said EDF’s Mark MacLeod. “Reducing tailpipe pollution will provide healthier, longer lives for millions of Americans for less than a penny per gallon of gas. That’s why updating the standards has such broad support from U.S. auto makers, state health commissioners, and health advocates.”
Cars and light trucks are the second largest emitters of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the U.S.; those are the primary pollutants that form ozone. Those vehicles also emit more than half of all carbon monoxide pollution, and contribute significantly to levels of dangerous particulate matter in our air.
According to EPA, the proposed new standards will slash the level of those pollutants in the air, cutting volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent and establishing a 70 percent tighter particulate matter standard.
The proposed standards will also reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent. Lower sulfur levels in gasoline will allow vehicles to run more efficiently. It also means we’ll see immediate benefits once the new standards go into effect, because older cars that are already on our roads will emit less tailpipe pollution thanks to the cleaner gasoline.
By 2030, EPA estimates that the new standards will prevent 2,400 deaths every year, prevent tens of thousands of cases of respiratory illnesses in children, and provide total health-related benefits worth up to $23 billion per year.
Updating the standards will also provide greater regulatory certainty for the automobile industry. All of those benefits can be achieved at a modest cost; the additional cost to consumers of the cleaner gasoline would be less than a penny a gallon.
Auto makers, the emissions control industry, state and local officials, national recreation groups, health groups and the public all support updating Tier 3 standards.
EPA will now hold a public comment period on its proposal.