New rules proposed by the Administration of Barack Obama would implement tighter restrictions on sulfur in gasoline in a bid to curb motor vehicle emissions pollution. Fuel industry experts, however, are warning that the rules may also have an impact on the price of fuel and, by extension, the economy as a whole.
The rules, which would take effect in 2017, would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, according to proponents of the plan. The so-called Tier 3 standards are modeled after tough emissions laws already in place in the State of California.
“We estimate the rule will reduce smog by 30 percent,” Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies told CNN.
Oil refineries and gas industry groups are speaking out against rules in the EPA package that would require them to remove more sulfur from petroleum, a process that they say will drive up the cost of gasoline by 10 cents per gallon or more.
A study conducted by energy consulting firm Baker & O’Brien concluded that additional rules the EPA could put into place such as a vapor pressure reduction requirement could drive the cost of fuel up by as much as 25 cents per gallon.
“There is a tsunami of federal regulations coming out of the EPA that could put upward pressure on gasoline prices,” the American Petroleum Institute’s Bob Greco said. “EPA’s proposed fuel regulations are the latest example. 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. We should not pile on new regulations when existing regulations are working.”