CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

National News

March 29, 2013

Cleaner gas rule would mean higher price at pump

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's newest anti-pollution plan would ping American drivers where they wince the most: at the gas pump. That makes arguments weighing the cost against the health benefits politically potent.

The proposal to reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten auto emission standards, released Friday, would raise gasoline prices by less than a penny per gallon, the Environmental Protection Agency says. But the oil industry points to its own study putting the cost between 6 and 9 cents a gallon.

The EPA also said its proposal would add about $130 to the price of new vehicles, beginning in 2025.

The administration says the costs to consumers are worth the payoff: billions of dollars in health benefits from reductions in smog- and soot-forming pollution.

The agency predicts $7 in health benefits for every dollar spent to implement the new rules. The agency must hold public hearings before finalizing the rules. It plans for them to take effect in 2017.

The proposal was praised by environmentalists and health advocates, as well as automakers who say it will help the U.S. catch up with the cleaner fuels used in other nations. California already uses the sulfur standard.

EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said the proposal is designed to "protect the environment and public health in an affordable and practical way."

Opponents say gasoline prices are stubbornly high already and Americans shouldn't have to pay more. The oil industry, Republicans and some Democrats had urged the EPA to hold off on proposing the tighter regulations.

"With $4 a gallon gas the norm in many parts of the country, we cannot afford policies that knowingly raise gas prices," House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said Friday. Instead, the Obama administration should work to increase energy supplies by approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and other projects, said Upton, R-Mich.

Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., who is chairman of the energy and power subcommittee, called the sulfur rule "another example of an overzealous EPA" and said lawmakers would give it a hard look.

Environmentalists hailed the proposal as potentially the most significant in President Barack Obama's second term.

The so-called Tier 3 standards would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent. It would make it easier for states to comply with health-based standards for the main ingredient in smog and soot. And the regulation would allow automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states.

The Obama administration already has moved to clean up motor vehicles by adopting rules that will double fuel efficiency and putting in place the first standards to reduce the pollution from cars and trucks blamed for global warming.

"Together, these standards represent the largest step in our nation's history toward reducing harmful emissions from the vehicles we drive every day," said Michelle Robinson, director of the clean vehicles program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group for scientists.

Robinson said the rules would reduce asthma, respiratory problems and premature death.

"We know of no other air pollution control strategy that can achieve such substantial, cost-effective and immediate emission reductions," said Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. Becker said the pollution reduction would be equal to taking 33 million cars off the road.

But the head of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Charles Drevna, questioned the motives behind the agency's regulation, since refining companies already have spent $10 billion to reduce sulfur by 90 percent. The additional cuts, while smaller, will cost just as much, Drevna said.

"I haven't seen an EPA rule on fuels that has come out since 1995 that hasn't said it would cost only a penny or two more," Drevna said.

A study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute estimated that lowering the sulfur in gasoline would add 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon to refiners' manufacturing costs, an increase that likely would be passed on to consumers at the pump. The EPA estimate of less than 1 cent is also an additional manufacturing cost and likely to be passed on.

Associated Press writer Connie Cass contributed to this report.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Fort Hood (UPDATED) Officials: 4 dead, including gunman, at Fort Hood

    A gunman opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood in an attack that left four dead, including the shooter, law enforcement officials said.
    One of the officials, citing official internal U.S. Justice Department updates, said 14 others were hurt. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information by name.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • High School Stabbings 4 students seriously hurt in Pa. school stabbings

    A student armed with a knife went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including four students who suffered serious wounds, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Obit Ultimate Warrior Former pro wrestler Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

    James Hellwig, better known as former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, has died, the WWE said. He was 54.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_amazonfiretv.jpg Amazon introduces Fire TV to challenge Apple in living rooms

    Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is stepping up efforts to win over customers in their living rooms with a $99 TV box for watching digitally delivered shows and movies, challenging Apple's TV device.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Washington Mudslide Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 30

    As medical examiners painstakingly piece together the identities and lives of the 30 people known killed when a mudslide wiped out a small Washington community, one mystery troubles them.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Fort Hood Fort Hood gunman sought mental health treatment

    An Iraq War veteran being treated for mental illness was the gunman who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 others before committing suicide, in an attack on the same Texas military base where more than a dozen people were slain in 2009, authorities said.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court Campaign Big donors may give even more under court’s ruling

    The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday erasing a long-standing limit on campaign donations will allow a small number of very wealthy donors to give even more than is currently the case, according to students of the complex campaign finance system, and could strengthen the establishment in both parties.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former McDonald's store managers say they withheld employees' wages

    Two former McDonald's store managers, assisting with a campaign to raise pay for fast-food workers, said they helped withhold employees' wages at the restaurant chain after facing pressure to keep labor costs down.

    April 2, 2014

  • Fact Checker: 'Birth control' for something other than family planning?

    "When 99 percent of women used birth control in their lifetime and 60 percent use it for something other than family planning, it's outrageous and I think the Supreme Court will suggest that their case is ridiculous."

    April 1, 2014

Facebook
AP Video