Industry pans low-sulfur gas regulations as costly, unneeded

The so-called Tier 3 low-sulfur gas rule, announced in March and formally proposed in May, is meant to cut pollution. As written, the regulations would force refiners to cut the sulfur content in gasoline by more than 60 percent to 10 parts per million by 2017. 

Patrick Kelly, a senior policy advisor at API described the initiative as an “agenda based not on science, economics or common sense”

“EPA should withdraw rule entirely,” he told reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon.

The EPA contends that the rule would bring major benefits through avoided respiratory ailments with little effect on gas prices. The EPA maintains the rule would increase pump prices by less than a penny per gallon.

More than 158 million Americans currently experience unhealthy levels of air pollution, which is linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, according to the agency, which views motor vehicles as an important source of the pollution.

However, Kelley said the new standards would have a negligible affect on air quality and could actually increase carbon emissions from refineries.

Meanwhile, he pointed to research showing the regulations would require the industry to spend close to $10 billion in initial capital investments, as well as $2.4 billion in annual compliance costs.

Ultimately, the cost of producing gasoline would increase by 6 to 9 cents per gallon, according to the research. Kelly declined to speculate how that would impact prices consumers pay at the pump.