Urban Air Initiative weighs in on EPA’s proposed ozone standard

(March 18, 2015) The Urban Air Initiative filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its proposal for new ground level ozone standards.  UAI believes the EPA’s proposed standard ignores one of the primary contributors to ozone, which is gasoline exhaust.

Ozone, a key component to smog, forms in the atmosphere when emissions from nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react in sunlight. Emissions from things such as cars, trucks and power plants are large contributors, but in urban areas gasoline is a dominant source.

The EPA wants to reduce the ozone standard in an effort to improve air quality and the health of Americans. “UAI applauds this effort and believes protecting our children’s health and well-being is the most important investment society can make to build a better future,” said UAI President Dave VanderGriend.

However, the EPA’s proposed rule would impose a disproportionate economic burden on industries, agricultural operations, and small business that in fact contribute less to the formation of ground level ozone than does a source that the rule appears to overlook: gasoline exhaust.

If the EPA required gasoline be blended with fewer toxic aromatic compounds like benzene and toluene, gasoline exhaust would emit less ozone and improve air quality.  “A cleaner option is to replace those aromatics with ethanol. Research done by UAI and auto industry engineers found that ethanol reduces harmful gasoline emissions. Ethanol does this by diluting the most harmful components of gasoline with its own clean octane,” said VanderGriend.

UAI hopes the EPA takes these comments into consideration as it works to reduce ozone in our atmosphere and improve air quality.