Stricter rules for SUVs may be introduced

The US Government is expected to call for cleaner gasoline and tighter pollution standards for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks, The New York Times has reported.

The new standards would for the first time force SUVs and pickup trucks to meet the same standards are other cars.

Oil and vehicle manufacturers are likely to greet the rules with dismay, warning that the costs for all drivers would go up.

The rules would force SUVs to cut up to about 93 percent of their emissions, in particular sulphur, which is known to impair the function of catalytic converters and increases pollution.

The US EPA’s draft of the proposed rules, submitted for review two months ago, is expected to resemble the final version. The rules will almost certainly lead to tensions between the Clinton Administration and Congress.

Republicans have indicated that they feel the rules are excessive. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK) is drafting legislation to cancel the gasoline cleanliness requirements. Inhofe heads the clean air subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The president is expected to veto the legislation.

Under the Clean Air Act of 1990, the EPA is allowed to issue new rules for vehicle pollution and the cleanliness of fuel.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post has reported that a major group of environmentalists has strongly criticised Vice President Al Gore, accusing him of breaking promises to reduce pollutants that cause global warming.

The group of environmental organizations expressed “deep disappointment with the lack of an administration proposal to require significant reductions in global warming pollution. We are particularly frustrated that the administration has not sought meaningful emission reductions from either power plants or passenger vehicles,” in a four-page letter addressed to Gore.

The letter was signed by the heads of the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists, US Public Interest Research Group and World Wildlife Fund.

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