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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora