EPA Finalizes Rule Tightening Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Standards

13 March 2014 Dashboard Insights Blog

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final rule on March 3, 2014, that establishes stricter standards for motor vehicle exhaust emissions and the sulfur content of gasoline. The new “Tier 3” standards represent a holistic approach to reducing motor vehicle emissions: they require auto manufacturers to cut tailpipe emissions of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, while simultaneously requiring refineries to reduce the sulfur levels in gasoline by more than 60 percent. EPA asserts that, by addressing vehicles and fuel as a single system, the Tier 3 standards achieve emissions reductions “beyond what would be possible looking at vehicle and fuel standards in isolation.”

Tier 3 Standards Get a Mixed Response

The Tier 3 standards have received a mixed response from industry. Auto manufacturers have generally welcomed the rule because it harmonizes federal standards with California’s standards. Under the old Tier 2 standards, manufacturers had to build one type of car for California and another for the rest of the country. The new Tier 3 standards mean that manufacturers can design and sell a single fleet of vehicles in all 50 states. Moreover, the new gasoline sulfur standard will make catalytic converters more efficient, which will improve both air quality and the performance of motor vehicle emissions control systems. The petroleum industry has been less receptive to the new standards. The American Petroleum Institute argues that the new low-sulfur fuel rules will impose billions of dollars of compliance costs on refineries, which could increase gasoline prices by six to nine cents per gallon.

The Tier 3 tailpipe exhaust standards will be phased in between 2017 and 2025, depending on the class of the vehicle. The low-sulfur rule for gasoline takes effect in 2017.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services