Institute Blasts Clinton Proposal For Costly New Rules For SUVs And Minivans: May Worsen Air Pollution

Washington, DC, December 21, 1999 – President Clinton today finalized new Environmental Protection Agency rules for motor vehicles and gasoline. These so-called Tier 2/sulfur rules, first proposed on May 13th, will tighten motor vehicle emissions, including those from light trucks, a category of vehicles that includes the popular SUVs and minivans, and sharply lower the sulfur content in gasoline. These costly new rules will do little or nothing to improve the air and protect human health.

EPA concedes that the rules will increase the cost of vehicles as much as $200 and the price of gasoline by 2 cents, Some industry members fear that the burden on the driving public may be higher. For example, several refiners believe that gasoline will increase by 6 cents per gallon.

EPA has attempted to justify Tier 2/sulfur by stating that the expected emissions reductions in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) would reduce ozone (the primary constituent of smog) and bring more areas of the country into attainment with the federal ozone standard. However, even under existing Clean Air Act rules, most of the nation will be in attainment with the ozone standard by the time these new rules take effect. Worse yet, a substantial body of evidence, including a National Academy of Sciences study, indicates that the kind of NOx reductions required under this rule may actually increase ozone in many, if not most urban centers. Thus, Tier 2/sulfur could actually make smog worse in America’s cities, while imposing substantial costs on drivers.

“With these rules, EPA has not only overstepped, but has stepped in the wrong direction,” notes Ben Lieberman, policy analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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