EPA Standard for Gasoline-Powered Vehicles is Good News for our Health, Environment

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Environment Oregon

In response to today’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized new pollution standards from gasoline-powered vehicles, Travis Madsen, Senior Program Manager for Environment Oregon, issued the following statement:

“Every parent in America should be free from worry about their kids getting sick from breathing the air when they play outside. That’s the promise of the Clean Air Act – and it’s a promise that we’re one step closer to fulfilling with today’s announcement.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules will prevent up to 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments for children annually, nationwide. We thank President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy for their continued commitment to cleaner air for America.

“This action was made possible by Oregon’s leadership. Oregon worked together with California and 12 other states to create state-level clean car standards, which form the basis of the rules finalized today by EPA.

“Oregon is pushing even further in the battle against air pollution. For example, the state adopted rules last year that require automakers to develop and commercialize advanced-technology plug-in hybrid electric cars and fully electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions.

“Thank you to Governor Kitzhaber and his administration for standing up for clean air.”

Benefits of the New Rules
Despite the substantial progress America has made in reducing vehicle emissions over the decades, passenger cars and trucks still produce millions of pounds of health-threatening air pollution every day. As a result, millions of Americans are still exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution – contributing to high asthma rates and shortened life spans.

Requiring automakers to build cleaner cars is a clear victory for our health and our environment. Once fully in place, according to EPA, these standards will annually prevent 2,000 deaths, 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, and 1.4 million days of lost work, school or restricted activity due to pollution-caused illness. The health benefits outweigh the cost of implementing the standards by up to 13-fold.

Today’s action by EPA builds upon decades of work to clean up our air, starting with the states.

State Leadership
California created the world’s first tailpipe emission standards in 1966. In response to the requirements, automakers invented and refined the catalytic converter – now standard equipment on every gasoline-powered car in the United States and most in the world – and a variety of other enhanced emission control technologies.

In later decades, California and 13 other states developed and implemented their own state-level clean car standards. Those states include: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia.

Beyond charting a path for pollution reductions for those states, these standards also pushed automakers to begin developing the cleaner cars that we see on the road today, including advanced-technology hybrid electric cars, and fully electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions.

This state leadership has paved the way for today’s action at EPA. It has also paved the way for earlier EPA action to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles, which began with model-year 2012 cars.

Details of the EPA action can be found here.