CLEANER CARS AND CLEANER FUELS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
December 21, 1999
Today, President Clinton is announcing the next step in providing Americans with cleaner air, cleaner cars, and cleaner gasoline. The new Environmental Protection Agency standards are designed to reduce harmful air pollution, like smog-causing nitrogen oxides, in flexible and cost-effective ways that give Americans the cleaner air and the consumer choices they desire.
Cleaner Cars. EPA is issuing tougher tailpipe emissions standards that take effect beginning in 2004 -- the first time both cars and light-duty trucks are subject to the same national pollution control system. The new standard is 0.07 grams per mile (gpm) for nitrogen oxides, a 77 percent reduction for cars and up to a 95 percent reduction for trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Vehicles under 6,000 pounds will be phased in between 2004 to 2007, and passenger vehicles weighing from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds will be phased in through 2009. Current standards range from 0.6 gpm for cars to 4 grams per brake horse power hour (g/bhp-hr) for the heaviest SUVs and vans. Estimated costs are, on average, less than $100 per car and $200 per SUV.
Cleaner Gasoline. For the first time, EPA is addressing tailpipe emissions and gasoline as a single system to achieve cleaner air efficiently and cost effectively. Sulfur in gasoline impedes the effectiveness of catalytic converters -- the devices that reduce pollution from tailpipes. The new rule requires the nation's gasoline suppliers to meet an average sulfur level of 30 parts per million (ppm) by 2005, down from the current average of nearly 300 ppm. Small refiners have additional time and flexibility to meet the sulfur standards. EPA estimates the cost at just under two cents a gallon, or about $12 dollars per year per car.
Maximum Flexibility. To ensure that the automobile and oil industries meet the new standards cost-effectively, the rule includes several flexibility mechanisms:
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