This week EPA published the much-anticipated Tier 3 rule, the latest in EPA’s efforts to control motor vehicle emissions. The Tier 3 proposal would lower sulfur levels in gasoline and set new vehicle emissions standards. The proposal was published in the Federal Register on May 21.
Tier 3 addresses both tailpipe and fuel standards. Starting in 2017, the rule would require refiners to lower the sulfur content of fuel from the current 30 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm. This in turn will allow auto manufacturers to create more effective emission control systems. Even existing vehicles will benefit from the fuel standard, since removing sulfur allows the vehicle’s catalyst to work more efficiently.
According to EPA, the proposed standards will reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions from passenger cars and trucks as well as some light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. This would result in significant reductions in ground-level ozone, particulate matter, and air toxics.
Automakers have supported the proposed rule because it will help align the federal government with California’s stricter fuel and vehicle standards, already in place.
EPA estimates the rules will add about one cent to the price of gasoline. By 2025, the cost of a new vehicle would increase by an estimated $130.
EPA is accepting public comments on the Tier 3 proposal until June 13, 2013. Visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tier3.htm for more information, or read the rule in the Federal Register here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-21/pdf/2013-08500.pdf.