Big oil's lobbyists have lost a fight over cleaner gasoline: The EPA will require refiners to reduce the amount of sulfur to cut down on smog, reports the Washington Post. The cut is a sizable one, dropping the allowable limit by two-thirds from 30 parts per million to 10. Backers say the move will eventually save the US billions in health care costs, but the oil industry disputes that and says the only tangible result will be higher gas prices. Sulfur content already has come down drastically since 1994 from 300 parts per million, and an industry executive says getting the remaining "little buggers" out of there isn't worth the cost.
Environmental groups pushed for the move, as did the auto industry, which argued that the lower limit will put the US in line with Japan and Europe, reports the Hill. Automakers are big fans of the change because it will make it easier for them to meet emissions standards nationwide. The Post quotes the leader of a clean-air group as saying the EPA decision will end up being the biggest such move of President Obama's second term. "There is not another air pollution control strategy that we know of that will produce as substantial, cost-effective and expeditious emissions reductions."