Tier III fuel standards. In March, the EPA proposed new fuel standards that require refiners to remove trace amounts of sulfur from gasoline. In 2004, the industry already removed 90 percent of sulfur in gasoline. Tier III standards necessitating further sulfur removal will impose the same cost as the 2004 sulfur reduction, with little, if any, additional benefit. In fact, the Tier III rule will likely increase net greenhouse gas emissions, as refiners will be forced to consume more energy to comply with this unnecessary and complicated rule. Such a result puts fuel manufacturers in conflict with the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations. The impact of these standards will certainly be felt by consumers, as well: Petroleum prices will jump by as much as 9 cents per gallon.
Beyond the sheer cost and complexity of these regulations, what is perhaps most frustrating is the EPA’s ignorance of the huge strides the energy and manufacturing sectors have made in reducing emissions. Refineries have reduced emissions by 13.5 percent since 2006. During the same period, the electric power industry’s emissions have declined by 10 percent, and across the entire industrial sector, emissions have declined 6 percent since 2005.
This progress comes from technological innovation that increases efficiency, but it’s also the result of a concerted effort by industry to invest in efficiency. The refinery sector alone has spent $132 billion since 1990 to improve its environmental performance.
The EPA’s power grab will have terrible consequences for America’s economic bright spot. Should the regulatory state continue to run amok, our energy and manufacturing booms will subside, and the United States will have to once again look abroad for its resources, rather than producing them domestically and selling the surplus to the rest of the world.
Charles Drevna is president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.