HomeWashington Letter2014 ▶ EPA Issues Final Rule on Gasoline and Vehicle Tailpipe Standards
EPA Issues Final Rule on Gasoline and Vehicle Tailpipe Standards

March 2014

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final rules – known has Tier 3 rules – to reduce emissions from vehicle tailpipes. The rule both lowers the allowable sulfur content in gasoline from 30 to 10 part per million and sets stricter emissions standards for vehicle manufacturers. Reducing the sulfur content is an important component of the rule in that it both reduces tailpipe emissions from all cars currently on the road as well as allows the auto industry to build new cars and trucks with more efficient pollution control technology, creating a future fleet of more efficient vehicles.

The American Thoracic Society supports the EPA's final rule. These changes will have an enormous positive impact on public health.

"The adverse health consequences of traffic-related air pollution are well documented, and as pulmonary physicians, we see the effects of polluted air on patients' ability to breathe every day," says Patricia Finn, MD, president of the American Thoracic Society. "The effects of smog on respiratory health are particularly pronounced for patients living with asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases."

"The impact of air pollution on respiratory health also disproportionately affects people with lower incomes, who are more likely to live near highways or other heavily used roadways," said Dr. Finn. " Children are also at increased risk from the effects of air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they tend to be more active outdoors than adults."

The final rule is estimated to save up to 2,000 lives, prevent 19,000 asthma attacks and prevent nearly 300,000 missed days of work and school each year by the year 2030, according to EPA estimates. These reductions will more than offset the costs of implementing the new standards.

Last Reviewed: October 2017