This post is written by Georgia Murray, AMC Air Quality Scientist:
Standards that regulate what air pollution comes out of the tailpipes of our cars, SUVs, and light trucks were last updated in 1999. EPA has drafted the next generation of standards, a proposal to reduce nitrogen oxides, organic compounds, and particulates from our vehicles. Now it is time to send the rule to the Office of Management and Budget.
If standards are finalized, the wait for cleaner air won’t be as long as it was in the last round. Generally, the clean up from tailpipe standards takes time. This is because the standards apply to new cars. So only as people buy new cars is there is less pollution. However, one very important part of what is expected to be in this proposed rule is a requirement that gasoline have less sulfur in it (from an average of 30 to 10 ppm). With less sulfur in the gas, all vehicles with pollution control systems will run more efficiently, and the end result will be an immediate reduction in air pollution! It’s estimated to be the equivalent to taking 33 million cars off the road!
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Resources estimates that almost 40% of all human health risk from toxic air pollutants in NH comes from mobile sources (see chart). This is a much needed regulation. We hope the Obama Administration, and the EPA continue to move forward.
Find out more about the new standard and how you can urge its implementation on the EPA’s website.
For more information on air toxics from automobiles in New Hampshire, visit the N.H. Department of Environmental Services Air Resources Division website or the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality website at www.epa.gov/otaq/toxics.htm.
Source: NH Department of Environmental Services, Fact Sheet ARD-5, 2008