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Science & Environment

State Gives Example Of New Federal Gas Standards


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and please pardon a touch of laryngitis today. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules that will require cars to run on cleaner gas. The regulations are similar to ones already in place in California and they're intended to lower sulfur emission and reduce smog.

They would go into effect in 2017. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.


SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: I'm here getting gas just down the street from NPR's studios in Culver City, just outside of Los Angeles, and here is the perfect place to talk about the EPA's new rules.

JOHN O'DELL: They have a lot of new rules. Do you mean the new fuel rules, the two or three fuel rules?

GLINTON: John O'Dell with Edmunds.com is one of the few people who can find humor in the EPA's fuel rules, which is why we're talking to him. He says the rules for gas here in California are essentially what the rest of the country will get.

O'DELL: What this fuel does is it lowers the sulfur content and the sulfur content is what puts out a lot of visible pollutants. We cleaned up diesel fuel a few years ago and that made a huge difference and we've been cleaning up gasoline, and that's a quantum leap.

GLINTON: When the EPA announced the rules, the car companies cheered. O'Dell says there's one really good reason for that.'

O'DELL: Well, yeah, because it doesn't cost the car companies anything. The fuel will run in the cars they have today. It'll just make them run cleaner, so it's not a cost item. They're not going to have to do much of anything, if anything.

GLINTON: On the other hand, the oil industry and refiners in particular, they're not happy.

O'DELL: It will cost the refiner something because they're going to have to do more processing in their refinery to get the sulfur down, and it will likely cause an increase, some increase in the price of gasoline.

GLINTON: And depending on what side you believe, that's an extra penny or up to nine cents that you or I'll pay at the pump. Sonari Glinton, NPR News, Culver City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.