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Posted: 4:12 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2013
By Peter Daut
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Tough new rules to get cleaner gasoline in vehicles are in the works.
The changes would help protect the environment and your health, but the downside is you could have to pay an extra nine cents a gallon.
Health experts say Charlotte's smog problem is the 18th worst in the nation. But the Environmental Protection Agency hopes new rules can help change that.
The agency proposed cutting the amount of sulfur in gas nationwide, which would lower smog emissions from cars and trucks.
The changes are supported by environmental advocates, state regulators and even automakers.
The nonprofit group Clean Air Watch considers the initiative a huge step forward.
“This is the single best tool at (the) EPA's disposal to try to cut smog levels around the country,” said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.
But the oil industry is against lowering the sulfur content of fuel, warning it's too expensive and could increase the cost of gas by nearly a dime a gallon.
Eyewitness News asked drivers if the potential price spike would be worth it.
“I think that's just hurting consumers more. You're going to travel less, use less fuel since it costs more money,” driver Michelle Ivey said.
“When I look at people that have respiratory problems, then yes, it is overdue. Because that will have an effect on people, on our respiratory health,” driver Kathy Jankowiak said.
The EPA said collectively, it would be the same as removing 33 million cars from the nation's roads -- more than three times the population of North Carolina.
But many drivers have concerns.
“Gas prices right now is already off the roof. So it would hurt the economy right now,” Derrick Montgomery said.
The plan must still go through public comment before becoming final. If approved, it would take effect in four years.
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