New Gas and Auto Pollution Standards Will Clean Our Air, Protect Our Health and Save Money

traffic jam by matthias_r(Here’s an important news update from our friends at the NRDC. We here at Non-Toxic Kids are delighted to hear that the EPA is taking action to better protect families from air pollution. These new standards will save lives and improve wellness for children across the country.)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards for gasoline and vehicle emissions announced today will dramatically reduce harmful air pollution such as smog-forming chemicals and dangerous soot.

Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following comment:

“These standards will clean our air, protect our health and save money. EPA resisted extensive pressure from Big Oil companies to issue standards that will save thousands of lives.”

The so-called Tier 3 standards require gasoline sulfur levels to be reduced by two thirds from 30 ppm to 10 ppm. The lower-sulfur gasoline will cut pollution from existing vehicles and enable new vehicles to meet tighter tailpipe standards. The fleet of vehicles meeting Tier 3 standards will cut emissions of the principal components of lung-damaging ground-level ozone, or smog—including nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds—by 80 percent compared to today’s vehicles. Under Tier 3, per-car emissions of particulate matter, or soot, will drop by 70 percent. Exposure to soot harms proper heart and lung function and is linked to premature death.

The impact of the proposed standards on gasoline prices is projected to be less than a penny per gallon, according to the EPA. In return, Americans save up to $19 billion per year in health-related costs by 2030 because cleaner air from the standards will prevent thousands of asthma attacks and other breathing difficulties annually and prevent up to roughly 2,000 premature deaths each year.

Automakers and labor, consumers and public health advocates all support the Tier 3 standards.  NRDC, with many of its allies, urged that the improved standards be finished by the end of 2013. While the finalization of the standards was delayed a couple of months, it retains the 2017 implementation timelines for cars and gasoline and therefore preserves the environmental and health benefits of the proposed standards.

image: by matthias_r on Flickr under CC

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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