WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will unveil a proposal Friday to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, a step that officials say will result in cleaner air across the U.S. and slightly higher prices at the pump.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the rule to reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten emissions standards on cars beginning in 2017 could increase gas prices by less than a penny per gallon and add $130 to the cost of a vehicle in 2025.
But the agency says it will yield billions of dollars in health benefits by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution come 2030.
The oil industry, Republicans and some Democrats had pressed the EPA to delay the rule, citing higher costs. An oil industry study says the rule could increase gasoline prices by 6 to 9 cents per gallon.
The so-called Tier 3 standards would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, by expanding across the country a standard already in place in California. For states, the regulation will make it easier to comply with health-based standards for the main ingredient in smog and soot. For automakers, the regulation allows them to sell the same autos in all 50 states.
Environmentalists hailed the proposal as potentially the most significant in President Barack Obama’s second term.