U.S. EPA places limits on carcinogenic benzene in gasoline

Late last week, the U.S. EPA announced a new rule that will affect most Americans’ gas tanks. The Mobile Source Air Toxics rule — or as we like to call it, the Your Car is Full of Crap rule — limits benzene, a carcinogen that makes up about 1 percent of current gasoline mixes but poses a whopping health threat. Beginning in 2011, refiners will have to work together to meet a national average of 0.62 percent benzene in their product, a $400 million tweak that — together with new guidelines on gas cans and cold-weather vehicle emissions — is expected to result, by 2030, in a 330,000-ton annual drop in toxic emissions and $6 billion a year in health benefits. “Americans love their cars,” said EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. “By clearing the air of tons of fuel and exhaust pollution, President Bush and EPA are paving the road toward healthier drivers and a cleaner environment.” Of course, there’s always the route of encouraging people to drive less too, but who are we to quibble?