EPA proposes stronger NOx and gasoline-sulfur rules

  • 31-Mar-2013 11:40 EDT

The U.S. EPA on March 29 a proposed rule to lower the sulfur content of gasoline and to reduce NOx and other pollutant emissions (not including CO2) from light-duty vehicles. The proposed rule—encompassing a number of provisions that together are called Tier 3—is supported by the two U.S. lobbying organizations representing the world's major automakers and would cover the period 2017-2025 to coincide with already approved federal CO2 emissions (EPA addresses CO2 separately from the traditional pollutant emissions types such as NOx). The rule would result in a gasoline sulfur content of 10 parts per million by 2017—a reduction of more than 60% from today's levels. The American Petroleum Institute opposes the rules and claims compliance costs will be much higher than those projected by the EPA. The proposed gasoline sulfur levels would match those already being achieved in many parts of the world, including Europe and Japan. The same low sulfur levels are also already required in California, which has its own set of pollutant emissions rules (LEV III) that are similar to those proposed in Tier 3. Without alignment of the state and federal rules on gasoline sulfur content and vehicle emissions, automakers would have to offer different vehicles in different parts of the country to comply with the different requirements, adding costs, EPA says. Compared to current standards, the proposed nonmethane organic gases (NMOG) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)—presented as NMOG+NOx—tailpipe standards for light-duty vehicles represent approximately an 80% reduction from today’s fleet average and a 70% reduction in per-vehicle particulate matter (PM) standards.

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