One for the road: New vehicle fuel, tailpipe-emissions standards set despite opposition

Score one more for the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently moved to set standards for fuel and tailpipe emissions.

Hydrogen_station_pump[1]In a Mar. 3, 2014 “EPA Sets Cleaner Fuel and Car Standards, Slashing Air Pollution and Providing Health Benefits to Thousands” news release, the federal agency explained it thusly: “Based on extensive input from the public and a broad range of stakeholders, including public health groups, auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized emission standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. These cleaner fuel and car standards are an important component of the administration’s national program for clean cars and trucks, which also include historic fuel efficiency standards that are saving new vehicle owners at the gas pump. 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.”

This is good news.

As it currently stands, as much as 45 percent of all smog-forming emissions and particle (soot) pollution throughout much of the nation comes from tailpipe exhaust, exhorted Peter Lehner in his blog post: “Over Oil Industry Objections, EPA Sets Lifesaving New Standards for Gasoline and Tailpipe Pollution.”

Regarding the new fuel standards going into effect, there are mixed views, however.

Lehner, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, insisted, “The oil industry, however, has been a major roadblock against getting these standards through, protesting that meeting them would be prohibitively expensive.”

But the NRDC staffer didn’t seem like he was buying it, countering, “… analysis from the EPA, and even some oil industry analysts, showed their numbers didn’t add up.”

Moreover, the federal regulatory agency noted, in 2017, sulfur content of gasoline will be reduced to 10 parts per million (ppm) down from 30 ppm as a result of the final fuel standards going into effect. This represents a greater than 60 percent reduction.

The EPA further stressed that the reduction in sulfur content of gasoline enables greater efficiencies in motor vehicle emission-control technologies, and added, health benefits will be both immediate and significant where use of the new low-sulfur gas is concerned “because every gas-powered vehicle on the road built prior to these standards will run cleaner – cutting smog-forming [nitrogen oxide] emissions by 260,000 tons by 2018.”

On top of this, “The Obama Administration’s actions to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases from these same vehicles will also result in average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over a vehicle’s lifetime,” the EPA in the release in question noted. “The fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards covering model year vehicles from 2012-2025 are projected to save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.”

Hydrogen_vehicle[1]The EPA’s actions plus things such as car sharing, environmentally friendly public transit usage in combination with any and all strategies initiated to mitigate Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) emissions from all sources, mobile and stationary alike, taken together, will do much and go far to make air cleaner and better for breathing, efforts that can make a positive difference in the lives of many.

For more on the new standards, see: “Over Oil Industry Objections, EPA Sets Lifesaving New Standards for Gasoline and Tailpipe Pollution.”

This post was last revised on Dec. 14, 2020 @ 7:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

– Alan Kandel

1 thought on “One for the road: New vehicle fuel, tailpipe-emissions standards set despite opposition”

  1. Soot (fine particulates) is clearly a killer. The larges source of soot is from large diesel engins, truck transport. ONE long-haul truck uses about 29,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

    This past weekend the Uniled State held it premier enviromental event. The Vail Global Energy Forum…Top leaders of Environmental groups and scientists and businesses..along with academia. Colorado Governor hosted the event and Secretary George Schults made closing remarks.

    The final panel discussion was on how to clean up truck emmissions. The clear solution agreed to by all after a presentation by the IDA and Volvo was Dimethy Ether. Not soot! Non-toxic!, locally sourced! Easy logistics! (like propane), inexpensive retro fit!, not cryogenic like LNG, not 3600 psi like CNG, no huge storage on board needed. It is use it in spray cans…its combustion by-products neutralize after greenhouse gasses or ozone depletion..A tanker spill? Not good, but not as bad at oil! No ground pollution, water source poisoning, long term air quality issues.

    We need to step up and hove some people of influence and bloggers and lobbyists start advocation for this fuel. I know alternate fuels, Ive done fleet conversions and fuel cell projects – yes, even with a degree in environmental sciences and working in the energy business.

    Check out “Oberon Fuels” check out “The International DME Association”, check out an article entitled “DME: The Most Promising Fuel You Never Heard Of”

    The government just published its certification of this fuel and a robust common rail has been made by Alternative Fuel Technology that is now ready to go. That has been the big reason for slow adoption…DME is ready.

    What solution do YOU have besides this?

    Why do we always talk about problems and devote so little time to talking about a solution? People get sick of reading GRIST etc problem, problem, problem…it’s tiring and people just stop reading out of a sense of hoplessness. This is a great story!

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