US sets new standards for vehicle emissions

The permitted levels of several pollutants which impact on air quality are to be cut in the USA.

Regulations signed off by the Environmental Protection Agency this week are expected to cut toxic gases by 330,000 tons per year by 2030 and slash volatile organic compound emissions by 1 million tons per year.

The revised Mobile Dest Air Toxic (MSAT) regulations can be split into three parts.

First, fuel refiners will have to cut the amount of benzene in their product to 0.62% by volume. At the moment the industry average is around 1% by volume.

Car manufacturers will also be required to build cleaner engines for new vehicles, meeting higher air quality standards than they are currently expected to.

For the first time tankers, silos and other containers used for fuel storage will be legally obliged to be well sealed and there will be a requirement to limit evaporation of hydrocarbons to 0.3g per gallon per day.

The regime will be brought in in stages and will be fully implemented by 2030.

The new regulations and fuel and vehicle standards already in place should reduce toxic emissions from cars to 80% below 1999 emissions.

"Americans love their cars," said EPA administrator Stephen L Johnson.

"By clearing the air from tons of fuel and exhaust pollution, President Bush and EPA are paving the road toward healthier drivers and a cleaner environment."

The EPA estimates annual health benefits from the particulate matter reductions of the vehicle standards to total US$6 billion in 2030. The estimated annual cost for the entire rule is about US$400 million in 2030.

Full details of the changes can be found on the EPA Website.

Sam Bond


transport | air quality


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