Share This Page

Another EPA crock: Sulfur silliness

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A new Environmental Protection Agency rule on gasoline's sulfur content shows yet again that the Obama administration can't conduct a proper cost-benefit analysis or refrain from unnecessary economic meddling.

Refiners already have cut gasoline's sulfur content by 90 percent — from 300 parts per million a decade ago to 30 ppm today. Now, the EPA is requiring another reduction, to 10 ppm by 2017, citing the need to protect health, save lives and prevent lost work and school days.

The EPA says the rule will raise pump prices by less than 1 cent per gallon and add about $75 to vehicle sticker prices. But refiners, who have to install expensive new equipment, say compliance will cost them $10 billion. An American Petroleum Institute study finds the rule will hike pump prices by 9 cents per gallon. And the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers expects it to cost automakers about $15 billion over 10 years, The New York Times reports.

Those are heavy additional costs for America's still-struggling economy to bear — especially for marginal additional benefits from squeezing another 20 ppm of sulfur out of gasoline. Refiners say that's far more difficult and expensive than previous sulfur reductions.

Expect shortages at the pump as refiners scramble to meet a government demand that makes meeting market demand even harder. This new sulfur rule further hinders an economy already burdened with too many unnecessary, costly Obama EPA interventions.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.