EPA is jazzed about new rules on ultra-low sulfur diesel

New federal clean-air rules came into effect yesterday, requiring sulfur content to be cut by 97 percent in at least four-fifths of U.S.-refined diesel fuel. The new “ultra-low sulfur diesel” will hit service stations in the fall. The U.S. EPA estimates it will raise the cost of diesel fuel by about five cents a gallon; other estimates range from two to 20 cents. According to the EPA, the reduction in diesel exhaust pollution could annually prevent up to 8,300 premature deaths from respiratory problems. Many 2007-model diesel vehicles will come equipped with particulate-pollution traps that will reduce emissions even more. The EPA is super-pumped (ha!) about the new rules, calling them a “historic milestone”; an EPA spokesflack gushed, “In terms of the cost-benefit ratio, this regulation ranks up there among the top actions that the agency has taken in its history.” High praise! OK, medium praise.