New EPA Auto Standards to Help New Yorkers Breathe a Little Easier

By Maggie McConnell 

Air pollution is a crucial element of the transportation industry in the United States. In a glaring statistic from the World Health Organization, 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air and this kills 7 million people each year.  Air pollution kills more people by strokes, lung cancer, and heart disease than smoking tobacco. The World Economic Forum found that air pollution alone costs Americans $2,500/year in health care costs. 

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gasses generated by the United States at 29% of our emissions, with light-duty vehicles emitting 58% of those emissions. But how do cars emit green-house gasses? Gasoline is largely made up of hydrocarbons and as a car drives, it combusts fuel and separates the hydrogen from the carbon. The carbon combines with oxygen atoms already found in the air and is then released into our atmosphere. Gasoline and diesel exhaust also include things like particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide which aren’t healthy for people to be breathing in regularly.

To address this issue, the Biden-Harris Administration recently announced new pollution standards for light-duty passenger cars, light trucks, and certain medium-duty vehicles sold in the United States. These standards are built on already existing standards for vehicle models in 2023-2026, and are now proposing more strict emission standards for 2027-2032 models. The EPA has estimated that this new protocol will result in $100 billion of annual net benefits to society, including $13 billion in annual public health benefits. While New York vehicles will not be impacted by this new protocol because we already follow stricter standards, this is a big win for New Yorkers as the air which flows from the west will be less polluted.

The standards will phase-in between 2027-2032 to become continually more strict and cut emissions. The EPA estimates that these rules will result in a reduction of 7.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. To put that into perspective, the emissions from a single gallon of gas are 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide. This will also result in a 50% reduction in average emissions for light-duty vehicles by 2032 based on 2026 standards. The EPA has also found that this reduction will result in a net benefit of $99 billion through health care costs and climate benefits. These types of pollutants are known for hospital visits in heart attacks, asthma, lung function, and respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. It is estimated that this will prevent 2,500 premature deaths in 2055.

In conclusion, this is the most stringent federally mandated clean vehicle emissions standards out there and it will lower pollution levels, improve health benefits, and also push the auto industry towards cleaner vehicles. Transportation emissions are critical in the path to lower emissions and this is a great step by the Biden Administration for climate policy. 

04.05.24 // AUTHOR: admin //