The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it was going to delay issuing a final rule for Tier 3 vehicle and gasoline standards until February 2014, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. Originally, the agency had planned to promulgate the rules by the end of 2013, but had decided on the delay due to the enormous number of public comments (more than 200,000 according to EPA) that were received. Notwithstanding the delay, EPA stated that planned effective date for the new rules was not likely to change from 2017.
The rule, which was proposed in May of this year, would reduce nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compound emissions from light and medium duty vehicles to 30 milligrams per mile by 2025 from the current 160 milligrams per mile; and would establish a particulate matter emissions standard of 3 milligrams per mile, down from the current 10 milligrams. The proposal further reduces VOC and NOx emissions from heavy duty vehicles and set an evaporative emission limits for both light and heavy duty vehicles.
The Tier 3 rule would limit the sulfur content in gasoline to 10 parts per million, down from the current limit of 30 ppm. The gasoline standard is strongly supported by vehicle manufacturers as necessary to help them meet the new vehicle emissions standards, but is equally opposed by oil companies who claim it will severely increase their costs.