Some people will say, “I am willing to pay more for my next car and for gasoline if it means cleaner air. That’s fair, but let’s look into all the questions associated with the proposed change.
There will be a cost. The EPA estimates that gasoline will be about 1 cent per gallon more, and add about $130 to the cost of a car by 2025. Their justification is that full implementation of the rules “will help avoid up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and prevent 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.” Note the use of “up to” in the last quote. As I’ve pointed out before, up to means no more than, and very possibly fewer.
Fuel industry experts estimate a 6-9 cent per gallon increase and say that the extra refining “would actually increase greenhouse gas emissions because of the energy-intensive equipment required to comply.”
If I take a conservative estimate of 16 million vehicles sold per year by 2017 and 3 cents per gallon at current gasoline consumption of 134 billion gallons per year, our annual bill comes to $6.1 billion. That’s a hidden tax of $200 per person per year, which hits the less wealthy people the hardest. It works out to more than $2.5 million per life saved and reinforces my earlier posting about how agencies pass rules without any real standards for cost justification - the old if-it-saves-just-one-life argument.