Most of us spend over an hour traveling along roads every day. And most of us breathe unhealthy air.
When you are near roadways you are exposed to high concentrations of pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. A major source of this pollution is gasoline vehicles.
Living, working, or going to school near major roadways increases exposure to pollution that triggers asthma attacks, worsens lung and heart health and causes thousands of premature deaths every year.
For cars to get cleaner, gasoline has to get cleaner. The new Clean Car Standards (Tier 3) by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require refiners to cut 80 percent of the sulfur out of gasoline by 2017, and for automakers to make corresponding improvements in vehicle emissions. Cleaner burning cars and lower sulfur gasoline will emit lower tailpipe emissions.
Standards will most likely drive up costs on both cars and gasoline. The costs are, however, very modest: less than $150 per vehicle in 2025 and 1 cent per gallon (the oil industry claims a cost of 6-9 cents/gallon).
EPA estimates show: in 2030, when 80 percent of the passenger vehicle fleet would consist of Tier 3 vehicles, the new standards will cut smog precursors by 25%, Carbon-monoxide emissions by 30%, and air toxics (including benzene) by 10-40%.
Annual health benefits would be between $8 and $23 billion.