EPA: Clean Fuels Programs Performing Better than Anticipated

EPA's clean fuels programs have exceeded expectations in reducing ozone pollutants and air toxics, agency officials said.

A new report based on data collected from 1995 to 2005 finds emission reductions often significantly greater than regulatory requirements. The data, which provide a view of recent gasoline property trends, are mainly from EPA's reformulated gasoline (RFG) and anti-dumping programs. Highlights of the report include:

  • Gasoline sulfur decreases -- Average annual sulfur content in all gasoline dropped from about 300 parts per million (ppm) in 1997 to about 90 ppm in 2005.
  • RFG nitrogen oxide (NOx) reductions exceed requirements -- RFG exceeded applicable NOx performance standards during both Phase I (1998 to 1999) and Phase II (2000 and beyond).
  • RFG toxics reductions exceed requirements -- On average, Phase I RFG complied with Phase II standards, and toxic performance still improved with the transition to Phase II standards.
  • Conventional gasoline NOx and toxics emissions decreased -- Between 1998 and 2005, the summer NOx emissions of conventional gasoline were reduced by 5.7 percent, while summer exhaust toxics were reduced by 4.7 percent.
  • Ethanol use in RFG increased and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) use decreased -- In the summer of 1996, about 11 percent of the RFG sold contained ethanol while virtually all the remainder contained MTBE. By the summer of 2005, the ethanol share increased to about 53 percent, with corresponding decreases in MTBE.

The report is available at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/rfg/properf/rfgperf.htm.

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