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Sun Mar 31, 2013, 10:17 AM

New EPA Rules Would Make Your Car Run Better And Cleaner

New EPA Rules Would Make Your Car Run Better And Cleaner

By Adam Peck and Ryan Koronowski

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a new set of regulations — known as Tier 3 Vehicle Standards. The rules would reduce the amount of sulfur present in gasoline before our cars burn it. It brings the rest of the country in line with the environmental standards that have regulated California’s automobile industry for years.

Cutting back on the use of sulfur in gasoline by two thirds will have indirect environmental and public health benefits. While sulfur dioxide is not itself a greenhouse gas, reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline will increase the efficiency of catalytic converters, reducing emissions and gasoline consumption. (Video explanation of how catalytic converters pull pollutants out of engine exhaust before it hits the air.)

When catalytic converters aren’t doing their jobs well, then they are emitting more pollutants like smog, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide. As the EPA puts it:

“The proposed gasoline sulfur standard would make emission control systems more effective for both existing and new vehicles, and would enable more stringent vehicle emissions standards. Removing sulfur allows the vehicle’s catalyst to work more efficiently. Lower sulfur gasoline also facilitates the development of some lower-cost technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which reduces gasoline consumption and saves consumers money.”

The proposed Tier 3 regulations go into effect in 2017, at the same time the auto-industry will have to be in compliance with the EPA’s newer, higher emissions standards.

Health advocates immediately applauded the new regulations as well. The American Lung Association issued a release applauding the health benefits of reducing the amount of smog-causing pollutants released by car emissions. These rules are expected to achieve the same environmental impact as removing some 33 million cars from the road.

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