Thanks, Environmental Protection Agency!

Today, the Environmental Defense Fund relayed some information that should make all of us breathe a little easier:

Environmental Protection AgencyThe EPA has just announced historic new standards to reduce soot, smog and other dangerous pollution that spews from the tailpipes of our cars and trucks.

With every breath, these standards will deliver cleaner, healthier air to the lungs of millions of Americans, producing billions of dollars of public health benefits every year. And they will cost less than a penny per gallon of gas which is why they are widely applauded by not only the environmental community, but have earned broad praise from U.S. automakers, state health commissioners, recreation groups, consumers, and public health advocates. 

Cars and trucks are the second largest emitters of the primary ozone-forming pollutants. They emit more than half of all carbon monoxide pollution as well as dangerous levels of particulate matter in our air.

These standards will dramatically reduce these emissions and the cleaner fuel will slash smog-forming pollution at a level comparable to taking 33 million of today’s new cars off the roads.

Today is a great day for clean air and environmental progress but not everyone is pleased with the announcement. Congressional Republicans joined the oil industry in accusing the Obama administration of increasing gas prices by demanding cleaner gasoline and automobile emissions. The oil and gas industry is balking; they’re claiming this action will increase prices consumers pay at the gasoline pump but this ruling and announcement, which has been a long time in the making, is expected to increase the price of gas by a penny a gallon or up to 9 cents, depending on whose analysis is to believed – EPA and environmental groups or the oil industry.

Given the staggering profits enjoyed by ‘Big Oil’ and the gas companies as they reap the benefits of government subsidies not given at the same levels to other industries, an increase in standards which help the environment can hardly ben thought of as burdensome, especially as concerns over the Keystone Pipeline and hydrofracking are at peak levels. The rules announced today will require lower-sulfur fuels to help reduce smog-causing emissions from cars and trucks and are scheduled to commence during 2017.