Refiners are pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay tighter pollution rules for gasoline, while automakers say they need the cleaner fuel.
The rules will probably be delayed beyond an EPA deadline of this month. The agency hasn’t sent them to the White House for review, a process that can take 90 days to complete. And EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson already pledged that the agency will limit its rules — whenever they come out — to a cut of sulfur in gasoline.
Despite the delay and rising gas prices, lobbyists representing Ford Motor Co. (F) and General Motors Co. (GM) aren’t backing down from the fight against refiners such as Tesoro Corp. (TSO), as they argue that cleaner gasoline is necessary to help them realize pledged fuel-economy improvements.
“Ever-cleaner cars will need even cleaner fuels,” Gloria Bergquist, vice president for communications at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in Washington, said in an e-mail. Without cleaner fuels, an “unfair proportion” of the burden of meeting increased fuel-economy standards will fall on automakers, the group told the EPA last year.
The so-called Tier 3 standards would set pollution emission levels for gasoline. Tier 2 guidelines were issued in 2000, and phased in over a decade. The rules the EPA is considering would cut average allowable sulfur emissions to as low as 10 parts per million from the current 30 parts per million, according to a Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, who wrote EPA in January to try to head off the regulations.