EPA proposes Tier 3 vehicle emission, gasoline sulfur limits

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed standards to reduce vehicle emissions and sulfur content in gasoline beginning in 2017. Comments on the so-called Tier 3 requirements will be accepted until June 13, EPA said on May 21. The American Petroleum Institute immediately asked for a longer comment period.

“EPA is cramming through unnecessary new regulations for gasoline that could drive up costs without providing significant environmental benefits,” API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco said. “By limiting public comments, EPA is trying to skirt public participation and transparency in the rulemaking process.”

In its May 21 Federal Register notice, EPA said the proposed gasoline sulfur limit would make both new and existing vehicles’ emissions control systems more effective, and enable more stringent vehicle emission standards.

“The proposed vehicle standards would reduce both tailpipe and evaporative emissions from passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles, and some heavy-duty vehicles,” it said.

“This would result in significant reductions in pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter, and air toxics across the country, and help state and local agencies in their efforts to attain and maintain health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” EPA said.

The proposed vehicle emission limits also would bring federal requirements into line with California’s low-emission vehicle program, enabling automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states, it added.

API previously asked EPA to follow federal Clean Air Act public review procedures, but the proposal only allows comments for 23 days, Greco said. Current regulations are working, with 90% less sulfur in gasoline today compared to 10 years ago, he indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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