March 3, 2014

Rule to Clean up Gasoline and Lower Tailpipe Emissions Finalized

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program

WASHINGTON (February 28, 2014) – The Obama administration today finalized a new rule to clean up gasoline and reduce harmful emissions from passenger vehicles, a move that will protect public health and create new jobs, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The finalized standards -- commonly referred to as Tier 3 – will reduce the existing sulfur in gasoline, from 30 parts per million (ppm) to the global trend of 10ppm, while limiting smog-forming emissions from new passenger vehicles.

Once implemented, the standards will produce immediate reductions in air pollution from vehicles. Such a reduction will help reduce asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and premature death caused by harmful, smog-forming and soot emissions, improving public health and cutting billions of dollars in health costs every year.

Achieving these reductions will, in some instances, require refineries to install and maintain new equipment, a move that will generate thousands of new jobs while costing refiners less than a penny per gallon of gasoline.

The standards, developed after a rigorous and deliberative process with all stakeholders, enjoy universal support from health, consumer, labor, manufacturer, scientific and environmental groups. Still, the oil industry remains vocally opposed to the standards, relying on misleading data and discredited science to block the standards.

Below is a statement from Michelle Robinson, director of UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program:

“Finalizing these standards is life-changing for people from all walks of life. Every day, tens of millions of Americans breathe unhealthy air, and reducing pollution from our cars and trucks is a critical part of the solution.

“These science-based standards represent the single most effective step our country can take to reduce smog generated from our daily driving. Tier 3 is a cost-effective way to ensure we can get where we need to go in our cars and trucks each day, without threatening our air and our health.

“Getting here took the work of a diverse coalition of science, health, environmental, labor, faith and industry groups and strong leadership from the Environmental Protection Agency to push the standards over the finish line. Today we thank Administrator McCarthy and the EPA for protecting tens of thousands of Americans from air pollution from our gasoline and tailpipes.

“It’s hard to imagine how anyone could argue against protecting thousands of lives at the cost of less than a penny a gallon. But the oil industry has chosen to do just that, asserting once again that its profits are more important than the health and welfare of the American people. We are not surprised that the oil industry is trying to block progress instead of investing in a cleaner fuel future, but they’ll need more than dubious claims and fear mongering to stop the country from enjoying the cleaner air, better health, and jobs that Tier 3 will bring.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.