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The goal is to help automakers meet new emissions standards, increase vehicle performance and improve public health

Gasoline is about to get a whole lot cleaner as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looks to reduce the amount of sulfur in fuel with a new regulation. 
 
According to the EPA, it's finalizing new rules that will cut the amount of sulfur in gasoline by two-thirds starting in 2017. The goal is to help automakers meet new emissions standards, increase vehicle performance and improve public health.
 
A vehicle's catalytic converter primarily controls emissions, but over time, sulfur in fuel can disable auto technologies that work to eliminate emissions. 
 
Sulfur took a massive hit in 2000 when the EPA required the amount be lowered from an average of 300 ppm (parts per million) to 30 ppm. When these new rules are finalized, that number will drop further to 10ppm nationwide by 2017. 
 
The EPA estimates an 80 percent reduction in emissions for cars and trucks from today’s fleet average, and a 60 percent reduction for heavy-duty vehicles.


[SOURCE: Automobile Magazine]

"These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment, and a win for our pocketbooks," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "By working with the auto industry, health groups, and other stakeholders, we're continuing to build on the Obama Administration's broader clean fuels and vehicles efforts that cut carbon pollution, clean the air we breathe, and save families money at the pump."
 
Automakers like the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers -- a trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and others -- have welcomed the rules because it lowers the cost of technologies needed to improve fuel economy and meet emissions standards. The auto industry will spend about $200 billion to double the efficiency of the fleet by 2025 to 54.5 MPG.
 
The program is estimated to cost less than a penny per gallon of gasoline, and about $72 per vehicle. The annual cost of the overall program in 2030 is estimated to be about $1.5 billion. 
 
Putting these new rules in place would also improve public health. According to the EPA, the rules will annually prevent up to 30,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children; 2,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits; 2,000 premature deaths, and 1.4 million lost school days and work days. 
 
Total health-related benefits in 2030 are estimated to be between $8 billion and $23 billion annually.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency



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RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2014 7:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
They want to cut from 30 parts per million down to 10 parts per million. 30 parts per million. Can you imagine trying to find and remove 20 of 30 grains of light colored sand from 999,970 grains of dark colored sand?

I like how there was no mention of the opposing side of this in the article. Let me copy and paste from the New York Times.

quote:
Charles T. Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, which lobbies for the oil refining industry, said that the rule comes on top of a series of other burdensome regulations. A decade ago, American gasoline contained 300 parts per million of sulfur, but earlier rules required refiners to cut the sulfur content by 90 percent, down to the current 30 parts per million. Mr. Drevna said it was easier to comply with the earlier regulations because removing the first 90 percent of sulfur molecules from gasoline can be done without difficulty. Wringing the last 10 percent of those molecules is harder. “They’re tough little buggers that don’t want to come out,” Mr. Drevna said. “It’s like getting the last little bit of red wine stain out of a white blouse.” Asked about the E.P.A.’s estimate that the rule would raise prices at the pump by less than a penny a gallon, Mr. Drevna laughed out loud. “I don’t know what model E.P.A. uses,” he said. “The math doesn’t add up.” His industry’s estimate that the rule could raise gasoline prices by up to 9 cents a gallon comes from a study by the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil companies.


And if you haven't started to question the supposed "health benefits" of things the government likes to talk about, then you need to start. How exactly will cutting sulfur reduce soot and smog. By stopping catalytic converter clogging? Please. You're supposed to replace the converter every so often anyway. Going from 30 parts per million to 10 is hardly a noticeable reduction.

Besides you can have plenty of other issues that could also ruin the converter. If you're not one to maintain your exhaust system you're probably also not one to maintain seals in your engine. Silicone from anti-freeze can ruin a catalytic converter if it seeps out through a bad seal.

Or if you don't keep your engine clean enough and you're just running less efficiently to start with, that can cause more pollutants and cause the converter to overheat and be damaged. There are so many other things that could be potential problems towards making a converter be damaged or clogged, that 20 parts per million of sulfur isn't going to make any real world difference.

All it will do is drive up costs for consumers as oil companies pay to implement this new rule.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By marvdmartian on 3/5/2014 7:47:02 AM , Rating: 4
Doesn't matter. The Chinese will just burn more of our high sulfur coal for electricity, and make up the difference!


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Dr of crap on 3/5/2014 8:45:21 AM , Rating: 3
Where did you get this? -

"You're supposed to replace the converter every so often anyway"

There is no PM on a converter, or a change interval.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By spamreader1 on 3/5/2014 9:59:12 AM , Rating: 3
No but they do have an average expected life of 100k to 150k miles. Granted they can last longer than that, the only way to tell is to have your emissions tested like many larger counties, and some states require.

The precious metals that are used as catalyzers do eventually break down over time from other contaminants.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Nutzo on 3/5/2014 12:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they do have an average expected life of 100k to 150k miles


Even less if you spend most your time driving in heavy/slow city traffic. If you live in a state that requires smog checks, and you keep your cars for a long time, look at the results over 5-10 years. You will see a gradual increase in the emissions, and eventually you will fail.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Dr of crap on 3/5/2014 3:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
So glad we don't have to get inspected any longer.

And I've not heard of needing a new converter after 100k. Wouldn't that still be under warranty?

Usually they need replacing after they get plugged up, but not failing after so many miles. Not that I couldn't see that happening.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By pandemonium on 3/8/2014 6:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
Do the warranty companies get subsidies from the government for replacing catalytic converters? No.

Warranties don't cover wearable parts. Catalytic converters are wearable.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By donxvi on 3/9/2014 5:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
Catalytic converters are considered emissions components and are covered under your emissions warranty. Depending on model year and emissions certification, that warranty is required to last typically something like 8 years/80,000 miles.
http://www.ford.com/cars/fusion/2013/warranty/emis...


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2014 1:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
As another already pointed out. Cats don't last forever. You have to replace it eventually just like anything else. Same goes for mufflers.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2014 4:09:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You have to replace it eventually just like anything else.


Well WE don't Fit :) Now that our state got rid of that stupid inspection scam BS.

Yeah that's right Mint. One of my cars has a catless exhaust. Suck my sulfur, tool!! MUhahahaha!


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By FITCamaro on 3/6/2014 8:04:18 AM , Rating: 2
Well yeah my first car I ran without cats as well. But I try to comply with stuff when and where I can. Besides your exhaust note is a lot raspier without cats on the car. A good high flow cat ultimately only costs you a few horsepower.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 8:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Besides your exhaust note is a lot raspier without cats on the car.


Not on a Boxer engine with unequal-length headers. Oh man, it sounds sweet! Not like those fart can muffler Honda ricer kids.

Plus you gotta use an exhaust system designed for catless use. A lot of guys just take their existing one and remove the cat, yeah, that sounds bad.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By EricMartello on 3/9/2014 5:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
Back in the day I had a C5 vette, and I removed the stock cats as part of an exhaust upgrade. It made the car smell like an 80s beater with strong exhaust fumes in the cabin and around pthe car. I Probably would not have minded if it was just a car I took out on the weekends but I used it quite often, so I went with a pair of 3" cats made by magnaflow. The end result was no more exhaust fumes and only a slight reduction in power...I was able to retain about 75% of the gains I saw with no cats.

You can get around the power loss of cats by going with ones that have a higher diameter than your exhaust piping, assuming you can fit them. If you had 2.5 inch piping you could go with 3 inch cats, and if you 3 inch piping you could go with 3.5 to 4 inch cats.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Mint on 3/5/2014 8:45:25 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Can you imagine trying to find and remove 20 of 30 grains of light colored sand from 999,970 grains of dark colored sand?


Sulfur differs from carbon in much more meaningfully ways than color. I have to question if you even passed highschool when you're making such a ludicrous analogy. Chemical methods can eliminate impurities to less than 1 ppm in many different materials.

As an example, most diesel sold in western countries is ULSD (ultra low sulphur), where it's defined as 15 ppm. Now that the US has sulfur similar standards, diesel engines don't have to be redesigned to enter the US (hence more models becoming available).

Unless you've done extensive research in the field, you have no basis for saying a 10 ppm standard is unduly burdensome.

quote:
How exactly will cutting sulfur reduce soot and smog. By stopping catalytic converter clogging? Please. You're supposed to replace the converter every so often anyway. Going from 30 parts per million to 10 is hardly a noticeable reduction.

Reducing a clogging agent by a factor of three is hardly a noticeable reduction? WTF are you smoking? Even before clogging happens, cats work better with low sulfur.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2014 9:07:12 AM , Rating: 1
We're talking a 0.002% reduction in sulfur. And you're making it out to be some gigantic deal.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Etsp on 3/5/2014 10:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We're talking a 0.002% reduction in sulfur
It's a 66% reduction in sulfur.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2014 11:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
Argh poorly phrased. I meant the percentage of sulfer in parts per million. Not mean.

66% sounds like a lot until you see what a tiny amount that ends up being.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Mint on 3/6/2014 3:28:38 AM , Rating: 2
So what? You can't dismiss a 66% reduction just because it's a tiny number.

Do you know how bad your water would taste if it had 30 ppm hydrogen sulfide? It smells like rotten egg and corrodes your pipes at only 2 ppm:
http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp...


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 8:39:15 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
You can't dismiss a 66% reduction just because it's a tiny number.


I can, will, and did. Why can't I?

quote:
Do you know how bad your water would taste if it had 30 ppm hydrogen sulfide?


That has nothing to do with this topic, irrelevant.

You really need to see the big picture here pal. This new mandate is unnecessary, will have little benefit, and is ultimately redundant. New CAFE standards will ensure much less sulfur gets released into the air already.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By EricMartello on 3/9/2014 5:26:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So what? You can't dismiss a 66% reduction just because it's a tiny number.


Yes you can dismiss it, because you can't just list a percentage without telling us the original number. Going from 1 to 2 is a 100% increase, but if you were talking about 1 PPM to 2 PPM it's not a big deal even though you could sensationalize it by saying that some harmful element is being doubled under a relaxed standard.

Going from 300 PPM to 30 PPM was already good enough, and going from 30 to 10 PPM is not going to make any appreciable difference on emissions or extend the life of catalytic converters...but it is going to drive up the cost per gallon of gasoline.

quote:
Do you know how bad your water would taste if it had 30 ppm hydrogen sulfide? It smells like rotten egg and corrodes your pipes at only 2 ppm:


And yet in the case of gasoline burning vehicles the 30 PPM of sulfur in gasoline has no significant negative effects. The EV thing is failing and the left-wing nutsacks are looking for more ways to drive up costs of gasoline with laws like these.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2014 2:00:25 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not making the case that it can't be done. I'm making the case that it is expensive because there's so little already.

Higher sulfur content of our fuel wasn't why diesels couldn't come here without redesign. It was because of emissions standards that are ridiculously high. The engines would run fine, just produce slightly more emissions. In our quest to make cars produce less emissions for a given amount of fuel, we've instead made them just use more fuel in many cases.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Mint on 3/6/2014 3:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
What's your basis for saying they're ridiculously high? The famed TDI engines from VW get very average emissions (Tier 2 Bin 5) compared to gas engines.

Yes, particulate emission standards were a hurdle for diesel cars coming to the US. But high sulfur content of US fuel was also a problem for Euro emission systems.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By Reclaimer77 on 3/6/2014 7:22:23 AM , Rating: 2
We have the highest emissions standards in the world, while also having the highest fuel economy standards in the world.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to engineer engines to meet these standards, not to mention costly? Especially small diesel engines?


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By FITCamaro on 3/6/2014 8:18:07 AM , Rating: 2
It all depends on what they're looking at. Our standards treat gas and diesel the same but gas and diesel don't burn the same. We should be letting engineers design engines to burn as efficiently as possible, not setting some arbitrary emission standard that might not allow that to happen.

My basis is that they have been higher than even European standards. But I think even Europe's are out of control. Instead of just saying "this standard is good enough", they are constantly pushing it higher and higher. To where eventually it is either enormously expensive to meet the standard or can't be met at all. All in an effort to push us onto electrics or other alternatives.

If we keep going down this road of ever higher regulations, eventually we will be pushed onto electrics. To where if they aren't ready we'll be paying through the nose and be severly constrained in what we can do with our vehicles and how far we can go. Maybe that's something you want, but its not what I want. America is a big place. And I like to be able to drive across large portions of it in a single day. And not only where Elon Musk has built supercharger stations. Nor can I afford a Tesla now or anytime soon.

As demand for electrics rises, prices on rare earth metals will only similarly rise. Meaning we'll switch from one rare resource (that we actually can create alternatives out of through nature and genetic engineering) to another rare resource which we don't have a lot of.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By JediJeb on 3/6/2014 5:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What's your basis for saying they're ridiculously high? The famed TDI engines from VW get very average emissions (Tier 2 Bin 5) compared to gas engines. Yes, particulate emission standards were a hurdle for diesel cars coming to the US. But high sulfur content of US fuel was also a problem for Euro emission systems.


VW stopped importing diesels for a while because they were designed for the higher sulfur fuels. They claimed it would damage the engine as it was designed then if you ran low sulfur fuel in them. I knew someone who had one of the older models and had to go to a truck stop to fuel up because it still sold the higher sulfur fuel.


RE: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
By JediJeb on 3/6/2014 5:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As an example, most diesel sold in western countries is ULSD (ultra low sulphur), where it's defined as 15 ppm. Now that the US has sulfur similar standards, diesel engines don't have to be redesigned to enter the US (hence more models becoming available). Unless you've done extensive research in the field, you have no basis for saying a 10 ppm standard is unduly burdensome.


If it costs so little then why did Diesel go from being about 80% the cost of regular gasoline to about 120% or more versus the cost of regular gasoline when they lowered the sulfur content limits? Here regular gasoline costs $3.38 while diesel costs $4.10 before the regulation diesel would have been less than $3.00 in comparison.

The 1 cent per gallon cost is a joke. It is different between removing elemental and ionic sulfur versus removing organic sulfur. The last remaining sulfur in gasoline is organic sulfur and organic sulfur is a lot more similar in behavior to organic carbon in gasoline than the elemental sulfur is, making it hard to separate as what removes sulfur also tends to want to remove organic carbon molecules. I did my gradate thesis on coal chemistry and sulfur removal was part of that. Coal is chemically similar to petroleum and removing the organic sulfur is not easy in either.

quote:
Sulfur differs from carbon in much more meaningfully ways than color. I have to question if you even passed highschool when you're making such a ludicrous analogy. Chemical methods can eliminate impurities to less than 1 ppm in many different materials.


The comment still stands as a comparison and description of just what a small amount versus the whole 30ppm is. Also once sulfur is covalently bonded to carbon it no longer behaves that differently from the organic molecule it is a part of. Ionic sulfur like what is in sulfate is vastly different and easily removed, organosulfur compounds( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organosulfur_compound... ) are not so easily removed since the sulfur is imbedded in the compounds that actually make up gasoline.



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