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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid