THE Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposed tightening of limits on sulfur in gasoline, and its previous rules, will most likely have the perverse consequence of retarding the development of cars running on batteries, advanced biofuels or hydrogen — all promising but expensive technologies that have not become mass-market products.
At the least, domestically produced gasoline and rapid advances in technology to make the internal combustion engine more efficient are likely to help the conventional automobile survive against competition from vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas and other cleaner alternatives.
The E.P.A. last week announced its proposed new Tier 3 rules sharply reducing allowable amounts of sulfur in gasoline, which would help automobiles’ catalytic converters to capture more pollutants. Tier 1, the E.P.A.’s first set of rules, was established two decades ago, under the Clean Air Act of 1990. Tier 2 was a refinement in 2000.