The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new,
Tier 3, fuel standard to be implemented across the U.S.A. and
based upon the current CARB fuel standard. This move would put the
U.S.A. in line with the European Euro VI and Japanese fuel
standards, which are at 10 ppm sulfur content compared with the
U.S. 15 ppm fuel standard (excluding California). The legislation
is proposed to be phased in from 2017, with the process being
completed by 2021.
The proposal has been praised by car manufacturers, as it helps
them achieve even lower emission levels. By 2025, the vehicle fleet
is expected to achieve a fuel economy of 54.5 mpg, a requirement
likely to cost carmakers around $200 billion.
By 2030, the EPA estimates
that the proposed cleaner fuel rules will annually prevent up to
2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in
children, 3,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency
room visits, and 1.8 million lost school days, work days and days
when outdoor activities would be restricted due to high air
pollution. Total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between $8
billion and $23 billion annually, EPA estimates. Bob Perciasepe,
EPA acting administrator, said: "The Obama administration has taken
a series of steps to reinvigorate the auto industry and ensure that
the cars of tomorrow are cleaner, more efficient and saving drivers
money at the pump, and these common-sense cleaner fuels and cars
standards are another example of how we can protect the environment
and public health in an affordable and practical way. "
The American Petroleum Institute (API), and the American Fuel &
Petroleum Manufacturers (AFPM) had said in a
letter to EPA in 2011 that the rules could initially require
"capital investment costs of $10 to $17 billion or, when combined
with operating costs, result in recurring annual costs between $5
and $13 billion. These impacts translate to a cost increase between
12 and 25 cents per gallon of gasoline produced." The study,
Potential supply and cost impacts of lower sulfur, lower RVP
gasoline which was conducted by Baker & O'Brien Inc for
API, also projects that the additional economic pressure would
likely cause four to seven refineries to shut down.
The EPA is also considering whether a 15 ppm
sulfur standard would be appropriate for CNG / LPG
fuels and how this could be achieved.