Major automakers praised the EPA announcement that it wants to cut the amount of sulfur in fuel by two-thirds by 2017.
Find out more about the search for cleaner fuels.
“Our cleaner cars will need even cleaner fuels like those already sold across Europe and Asia, so we are pleased EPA is proposing lower-sulfur fuels,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and other automakers. “Cleaner fuels don’t disable our new technologies, and cleaner fuels provide day-one benefits to the 250 million cars on our roads — as well as every other engine using gasoline, like boats and lawnmowers.”
Carmakers need cleaner fuel in order to meet emissions reductions. The industry will spend about $200 billion to double the efficiency of the fleet by 2025 to 54.5 miles per gallon.
The catalytic converter is the primary emissions control device on automobiles. When working correctly, they virtually eliminate smog-forming emissions. But over time, sulfur in gasoline reduces the ability of the catalytic converter to do its job.
In 1999, the EPA reduced allowable sulfur in gasoline from 300 parts per million to 30 ppm. California, the European Union, Japan and South Korea require fuel with sulfur levels of 10 ppm or less. The EPA said its proposal will prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths per year, as well as 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children. Total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between $8 billion and $23 billion annually, EPA estimates.