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Automakers: EPA gas rules good for environment, bad for wallets

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

The Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent new gasoline rules will be good for the environment but will cost both car manufacturers and consumers more money, automakers say.

The Tier 3 standards, released Friday, will require carmakers to reduce emissions and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by 2017, cutting sulfur by more than 60 percent and other pollutants by 80 percent.

EPA estimates by 2030 the rules will save billions of dollars in health care costs and prevent as many as 2,400 premature deaths, 3,200 hospital visits, 22,000 asthma exacerbations, 23,000 respiratory symptoms and 1.8 million lost school and work days each year.

“We have been anxiously awaiting this rulemaking because it is good for the environment and will help harmonize the federal and California programs for both vehicles and fuels,”Michael J. Stanton, president of the Association of Global Automakers, said Friday.

The EPA rules extend standards already in place in California, allowing carmakers to sell the same cars in all 50 states, the Associated Press reports.

Global Automakers said the rules will help carmakers meet federally mandated fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards by 2025.

But Tier 3 standards will also be costlier for both manufacturers and drivers, industry experts say. EPA estimates the rules will add less than a penny per gallon to gas prices. But an oil industry study says the cost of the rules will be passed on to drivers, and gas prices could go up by nine cents per gallon, according to the Associated Press.

Carmakers will face even steeper costs, they say. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said Friday the rules will cost $10 billion in new infrastructure and $2.4 billion in annual operating costs.

And that’s after the industry has already spent billions to reduce sulfur levels by 90 percent since 2004, AFPM said.

“Tier 3 rulemaking that targets trace amounts of sulfur in gasoline is not worth the direct threat to our domestic fuel supply, consumer cost at the pump and American jobs,” AFPM President Charles T. Drevna said.

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