New EPA fuel standards will bring a range of benefits

March 3, 2014 12:00 AM

As motorists become more aware of how their vehicles can have a direct impact on air quality, many are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint without having to compromise their driving needs. For example, keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance is crucial, as these tune-ups can ensure a car is more safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and also produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, many car owners are starting to consider more eco-friendly models that may be able to save them money as well as minimize damage done to the environment. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency has established a new set of clean fuel and car standards that are expected to drastically reduce toxic and smog emissions as well as soot, thus lowering the rates of heart attacks, asthma and other related health problems in the U.S. 

Cutting costs
These Tier 3 rules have been in the development process for several years, and now that they've been finalized, they have the potential to minimize harmful emissions from cars, trucks and even certain heavy-duty vehicles while also slashing spending at the gas pump. By 2025, the standards will result in average fuel savings totaling more than $8,000 over the course of a car's lifetime. Additionally, the fuel standards that apply to vehicles with model years between 2012 and 2025 are expected to save motorists more than $1.7 trillion in costs.

Decreasing health issues
more importantly, these rules could help people avoid developing a variety of potentially fatal illnesses by dramatically reducing the emission of certain pollutants. Nitrogen oxide emissions alone will be cut by a whopping 260,000 tons, and by 2030, those reductions will equal 25 percent of the emissions from on-highway vehicles. Gasoline sulfur levels will drop more than 60 percent in 2017, and benzene emission levels will fall by 30 percent. In fact, once they are fully enacted, these guidelines will help to prevent up to 50,000 cases of respiratory problems in children in addition to 2,000 premature deaths per year.

"These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment, and a win for our pocketbooks," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "By working with the auto industry, health groups, and other stakeholders, we're continuing to build on the Obama Administration's broader clean fuels and vehicles efforts that cut carbon pollution, clean the air we breathe, and save families money at the pump."

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