News / Health

New US Fuel Standards Aim to Cut Asthma, Heart Attacks

Reuters
The Obama administration on Monday announced new fuel and automobile rules to cut soot, smog and toxic emissions, which it says will reduce asthma and heart
attacks in the United States.

The so-called Tier 3 rules unveiled by the EnvironmentalProtection Agency have been under development since PresidentBarack Obama issued a memorandum instructing the agency todevelop them in 2010.

The rules, the third tier in a series of standards, will cut gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent and should also reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions from cars, lightand medium-duty trucks and some heavy-duty vehicles.

Health advocates praised the move, while a petroleum warned of potential supply disruptions.

The rules will be phased in under schedules that vary byvehicle class, generally starting between model years 2017 and 2025, the EPA said.

Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,000 premature deaths per year and 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children while adding only an average of 1 cent per gallon to the cost of gasoline, the agency estimated.

Total health benefits in 2030 will be between $6.7 billion and $19 billion annually, the EPA said.

The standards are an attempt to cut the sulfur content ofgasoline to 10 parts per million from 30 ppm currently. This would boost efficiency for new emission control technologies that automakers will use to help achieve the administration's wider clean car standards, the agency said.

Every gasoline-powered vehicle on the road built prior to the Tier 3 standards will run cleaner, cutting smog-forming nitrous oxide emissions by 260,000 tons in 2018.

"By reducing these pollutants and making our air healthier, we will bring relief to those suffering from asthma, other lung diseases and cardiovascular disease, and to the nation as a whole," said Dr. Albert Rizzo, former chairman of the American Lung Association.

Industry groups complained that the new standards were not based on a timetable that is achievable by refiners.

Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said his group had discussed its concerns about the implementation schedule numerous times with the EPA.

"EPA chose to ignore our concerns by setting an unrealistic compliance date of Jan. 1, 2017," he said, adding that the schedule could cause supply disruptions.

The EPA said it had considered the feedback of stakeholders, including refiners and automakers. It said the sulfur rules include a program to help refiners and importers meet the new standard, and gives smaller refiners more time to comply.

Questions about cost

The EPA and the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying group for the U.S. energy industry, sparred over the potential health benefits and costs of the rules.

The EPA estimated that the final standards would provide up to $13 in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards and raise gasoline prices by just 0.065 cents per gallon.

The standards will have an average cost of about $72 per vehicle in 2025, the agency said.

But the API said the new rules would result in negligible health benefits and undue costs.

"This rule's biggest impact is to increase the cost of delivering energy to Americans, making it a threat to consumers, jobs and the economy," said Bob Greco, director of the API'S Downstream Group.

The organization estimates the rules would increase gasoline prices by 6 cents to 9 cents per gallon.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters on a conference call that the benefits far outweighed the costs.

"The estimate that API and others are relying on is an outdated estimate of what they thought we would be proposing," she said.

Nor did they account for the compliance flexibilities the EPA added to the rule before the final release, she added.

"People will see immediate benefits in 2017," she said, and the estimated cost of under a penny per gallon of gasoline would not take effect until 2025, when the rule is fully in place.

Frank O'Donnell, president of nonprofit group Clean Air Watch, said Monday's rule was "the most significant move to protect public health that the EPA will make this year" and that the oil industry's fears about costs were often overblown.

"Let's remember the oil industry has cried wolf so many times," O'Donnell said, "and it's doing it again here."

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid