POSTED: Friday, March 29, 2013 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Friday, March 29, 2013 - 11:04am
CNN — The federal government is pushing ahead with regulations to require cleaner gasoline as a way to reduce smog, according to the head of a group of clean air agencies who said he spoke with top officials Friday.
Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said that lower amounts of sulfur in gasoline are specified in proposed rules Environmental Protection Agency rules.
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups also have been briefed about the plan.
EPA officials plan to make an announcement on Friday.
"We don't know of another air pollution strategy as effective to clean up the air," Becker said, explaining that catalytic converters will operate more efficiently at scrubbing vehicle exhaust.
"We estimate the rule will reduce smog by 30%" when fully implemented, he said.
Becker disputed claims from refinery groups that motorists will have to pay nearly a dime a gallon more for gasoline as the rules take effect.
According to his talks with top EPA officials, Becker said, "the six-to-nine cent analysis does not include hardship exemptions, delays for small business" and credit for starting the cleanup early.
Becker, whose group represents state and regional air quality control agencies, said the sulfur reduction strategies are already in use among refineries serving California, the European Union and Japan.
The Sierra Club, in a statement Friday, lauded the plan. "We have the technology to clean up our fuels and our cars and it's critical that we put them to work," Executive Director Michael Brune said.