Posted On: March 3, 2014 by Nancy Barron

Cleaner, Greener Gasoline

Today the Environmental Protection Agency is issuing important new regulations that will improve air quality nationwide by demanding substantial reductions in harmful automotive emissions. Read more about these long-awaited developments here.

True to campaign promises, the Obama administration is supporting federal agency action that will significantly reduce harmful chemical content in the gasoline used in cars and trucks on the nation's highways. Toxic pollutants continue to plague cities where motor vehicles driven on fossil fuels are the primary means of transportation. After years of hearings and studies and testimony, the EPA has finalized rules that will require tighter emissions standards for motor vehicles, a move intended to save thousands of lives per year.smog.jpg

The effects of sulfur and other toxic pollutants are not just the ugly layer of urban haze we refer to as smog. Sulfur content in the air has been linked to a host of health concerns, including heart problems and a wide variety of respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Of course, the oil and gas industry is poised to publish ominous warnings that gas prices will go up in response to the new EPA rules. But the public attitude has reached a tipping point. Given that oil company profits are at an all-time high, few people believe the price at the pump is due to the government's efforts to clean up the air.

Contrary to oil companies' view, at least some automakers hail the new rule, even though car prices also may be slightly affected. Michael J. Stanton, president and CEO of Global Automakers, sees opportunity. "Reducing sulfur in gasoline brings instant benefits to consumers and the environment," he says. "This rulemaking will reduce emissions from the existing fleet of vehicles on our roads today and opens the door for even cleaner cars in the future." You can read their press release here.

The EPA rules have been in the works for years, but are being finalized today. They take effect in 2017.