EPA's New Rule Will Make Gas Pricier, Earth-Healthier
Oil refiners will need to cut gasoline's sulfur content some 60%
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 3, 2014 7:05 AM CST
In this June 11, 2013, file photo, a motorist puts fuel in his car's gas tank at a service station in Springfield, Ill.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

(Newser) – The Environmental Protection Agency is today putting in place a new rule to drastically cut sulfur from gasoline, a measure it says will ultimately save lives, the New York Times reports. Sulfur in gasoline renders vehicle pollution control systems less effective, boosting smog-causing emissions associated with heart and lung disease, among other health concerns. The plan would cut the sulfur content in gas roughly 67% as of 2017, to 10 parts per million from 30 parts per million. Oil refiners are fighting the measure, which would force them to install pricy new sulfur-cleaning equipment. Supporters see it as President Obama's "most significant public health achievement in his second term," per the Times.

The associated costs: The EPA says gas prices will inch up two-thirds of a cent per gallon, and new cars will cost an additional $75. Oil refiners, however, paint a far starker picture (one lobbyist for the industry literally laughed at the EPA's figures): a nine-cent-per-gallon rise in gas as the industry faces $10 billion in new costs. But the US economy as a whole would benefit, according to the EPA. In 2030, the plan's annual cost will be $1.5 billion, officials say, per the Detroit News, but saved lives and better worker health will generate an economic bump between $6.7 billion and $19 billion annually, they note. Some 10 years ago, gas contained 300 parts per million of sulfur, and the aforementioned lobbyist says stripping much of that last 10% out is no easy task. "They’re tough little buggers that don't want to come out. It's like getting the last little bit of red wine stain out of a white blouse."

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Mar 28, 2014 3:36 PM CDT
EPA is another NSA. Worthless.
Mar 4, 2014 6:25 PM CST
The oil companies charge as much as they can regardless of any other factors. So they should cut the sulfur. In the EU they did this years ago, at least for Diesel fuel. And I expect our refineries planning to export product are already planning to ship low sulfur fuel to Europe if the Keystone Pipeline goes through. But we have all seen that even a rumor is enough to send prices at the pump higher. And if you think they pay the spot prices that make national news each day instead of having contracts in place with much better pricing, (except for deals designed to siphon off industry profits for a few select insiders) then I imagine there are folks who'd like to sell you a bridge. This "prices will go sky high" nonsense is just like the myth that forcing business to pay taxes to help cut our deficit would just be passed on to consumers. No, they already charge the highest prices that they can. And their shareholders would expect no less.
Mar 4, 2014 3:42 PM CST
Did they mention that NO NEW REFINERIES have been built and made operational for over 30 years ? Not Even To Repl;ace The Oldest Ones ! ! ! The EPA is a tool used by politicians to Regulate what they can't LEGISLATE ! ! ! AKA, Going AROUND CONGRESS ! That and all the rediculous formulas and additives required (some that do not exist because of the cost) it's no wonder the cost of gasoline is over 70% taxes, fees, permit and licensing expences !