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US refiners decry latest EPA proposal for tougher auto pollution standards

03.29.2013  | 

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the proposal as early as Friday. It is expected to require refiners to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline to 10 parts per million, down from the current standard of 30 ppm, people familiar with the issue said.

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By TENNILLE TRACY

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is moving forward with tough new standards to cut pollution from cars, people briefed on the plans said Thursday, prompting an outcry from refiners that say the proposal will raise the cost of producing gasoline by nearly 10 cents/gal.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the proposal as early as Friday. It is expected to require refiners to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline to 10 parts per million, down from the current standard of 30 ppm, people familiar with the issue said.

Sulfur, a natural ingredient in crude oil, reduces the performance of a car's catalytic converter, a key piece of emissions-control equipment. By limiting sulfur content, the EPA hopes to make cars emit fewer pollutants.

"I think this proposal is the single most effective step EPA can take right now to reduce smog," said Clean Air Watch president Frank O'Donnell.

The proposal is also expected to impose new tailpipe emissions standards on cars starting with model year 2017 vehicles. These will require the installation of better-performing catalytic converters.

Auto makers are preparing for the standards because nearly identical requirements have been adopted by more than a dozen states, including California. As a result, auto makers are generally on board with the EPA's new proposal.

The American Petroleum Institute, however, which represents refiners, says the standards will cost $10 billion in upfront capital expenditures and an additional $2.4 billion in annual compliance costs.

The standards will ultimately raise the price of producing gasoline by 9 cents/gal, the institute says, which would likely be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

"The costs are significant and could easily impact the competitiveness of US refineries," said Bob Greco, a director at API.

The EPA's clean-air chief, Gina McCarthy, who has been nominated to head the agency, has said a tighter sulfur standard would affect the price of gasoline by only a penny a gallon. The EPA wasn't immediately available for comment.

The proposal would go out for public comment and could change before becoming final.

The EPA was initially expected to release the proposal on sulfur, known as the Tier 3 proposal, in 2012. The Obama administration delayed its release. It was facing political heat at the time over high gasoline prices.

The Tier 3 standard would replace Tier 2 sulfur standards, adopted by the Clinton administration in 2000.


Dow Jones Newswires



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Kutowy
06.23.2013

New membrane technology being developed and implemented in Ottawa Canada, has the potential oif savin billions of dollars in processing cost by the use of Polymeric membranes to do the separation. This is analogous to Reverse Osmosis in water. Pressure driven processes (membranes), as opposed to phase change (boiling) is a fraction of the energy consumption.

Gustavo Heins
04.02.2013

One problem, what about big industries using coal and other different contaminants fuels

JOHN W DALY
04.01.2013

Shame you couldn't include a name.


04.01.2013

Europe and most of Asia met these standards more than 5 years ago. The USA is the biggest consumer of energy both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis. It is also the world's biggest polluter. How about stepping up to the plate and taking your share of the pain instead of assuming you have a divine right to consume and pollute?

JOHN W DALY
04.01.2013

The EPA should sit down and shut-up. They had a place years ago, they did their job, emissions are lower and will be getting lower as newer cars replace older ones. This is crap to keep a bunch of government employees, that have done their job, keep their jobs as overhead to the taxpayers while they continue to stack on expense to the taxpayers and corporate America. Sequester the EPA - their done - all that's left to do is requlate the regulations! Enough is enough!!!!!

Prakash J. Lakhapate
04.01.2013

India has achieved this standard of less than 10 ppm in gasoline long back.
America need to take quick action as they are the major polluter.

Oleh Kutowy
04.01.2013

There are new technologies coming onto the market all the time. for example see www.mempore.com that apparently also has technology for fuel improvement, both Diesel and Automotive. The oil companies are only happy with no changes, even though change can actually save them money!

Ara Barsamian
04.01.2013

Another brilliant rule by EPA, Gina has to "prove" to the Boss that she's tough on all these big and greedy oil companies killing us all with dirty emissions...using concocted numbers (aka junk science) to justify "benefits".

That's exactly what we need now, higher prices with 23 million unemployed Americans and the economy in the toilet...

I'm wondering when EPA will come up with Tier 4, forbidding the use of gasoline and mandating the use of sails and wind power...and use Don Quijote de la Mancha as proof that it works...

ba.baligh
03.29.2013

Welcome to just think about the environment around us is accelerating to search for solutions suitable for reducing air pollution and air to piece the proposal is reasonable in this period and wonder what the ultimate solution for improving the material situation in materials used and innovation and new mechanisms sucking bad air from the exhaust pipe in the car and all belongings outwhile not computational rates affordable for everyone and thank you very much

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