By on December 4, 2014

SkullExhaustPic1

Six years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency set the acceptable level of ground-level ozone to 75 parts per billion. That level is about to come down.

The EPA is proposing a new acceptable level between 70 pbb and 65 pbb, and is accepting comments about dropping the level to 60 pbb. The proposal is in line with requirements by the Clean Air Act, mandating the agency review the standards every five years, and is meant to better improve air quality.

Per its analysis, the agency expects the new standard to provide “significantly better protection for children… and adults,” with as many as 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks, 750 to 4,300 premature deaths, and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays prevented. The economic benefits derived from the finalized standard and resulting health improvements would also outweigh any government investment:

These large health benefits will be gained from avoiding asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects valued at $6.4 to $13 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $19 to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 ppb. Annual costs are estimated at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $15 billion for a standard at 65 ppb.

The act would give states time to meet the new standards based on severity, with the worse expected to conform by 2020, to 2037 for lesser-affected areas. The final ozone standards are set to be finalized by October 1, 2015.

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64 Comments on “EPA Proposes Stricter Ground-Ozone Level Standards...”


  • avatar
    insalted42

    “Economic costs would be affected as well, ranging from $6.4 billion to $13 billion by 2025 for 70 pbb, to between $19 billion to $39 billion for 65 pbb by the same year.”

    Does our government even think about how much their spending anymore? I feel like they throw around these numbers (usually in the billions of $) and mostly ignore them as long as whatever socio-political initiative their funding gets completed…

    I guess when you’re $16 trillion in debt, it’s easy to stop caring.

    • 0 avatar
      korvetkeith

      It wouldn’t be the government spending money directly. It would be the auto manufacturers spending money and then passing the cost on to the consumer. It can’t be anything more than SWAG

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      Not 16 trillion——- try 18+ trillion
      The administration is turning us into a 3rd World country

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        is turning or has turned?

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        Google unfunded liabilities. 16-18t is a rounding error on the real number.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          With all due respect, you all are wrong.

          The $18 trillion is just the federal debt. Add all the State, county and municipal debt. Then add all social security etc. obligations.

          Add debt of school districts, sewer, water and other utilities that all are somewhat public. all this debt will have to be repaid by fees, taxes (or whatever they call it).

          Also add all the unfunded pension obligations for public sector workers (most states don’t have money put back for that = debt), for soldiers, VA services that are committed to today but have to be paid in the future.

          I think I’m sick just thinking of all that.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I suspect it ends with a currency reset and/or a world war between East and West.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Sorry to hear you’re sick. Here’s a cure:

            It ain’t your debt. Nor mine. As long as your signature is not on the loan document.

            Always remember that the above is the reasonable position. Anything else is the “extremist” one. Now, go support candidates and vote accordingly.

            Cured.

            No charge, no need for Obamacare nor any other debt increasing gobbladygook.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “I guess when you’re $16 trillion in debt, it’s easy to stop caring.”

      Hey, that’s $18 trillion. Wait, I just looked it up and it’s $17,999,052,312,821. But it’ll be $18T by the time you read this.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    The guy who posed for that skull?

    Major bruxism.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I don’t know what the end state of this is, but I’m hoping in the long run…

    1. Electric cars become the norm
    2. Oil gets dirt cheap because we’re not using it to power cars
    3. Aerospace innovation takes off and air fare gets cheaper because of cheap oil

    I hope I get to see it in my lifetime where I can just hop on a plane from any major airport in the US and go anywhere for dirt cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      korvetkeith

      I saw that in my lifetime of 29 years. Air travel has gotten significantly worse.

      When I was in college my buddies and I hopped a $49 southwest flight from Detroit to St. Louis to go home on a Holliday weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        How quickly we forget.

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        Last month I hopped on a $19 flight from Denver to Las Vegas. A few days later $19 reversed the trip.

        But that was a one-day Frontier sale. Go back a bit more than 29 years ago, say 1980, and you’d pay double what you pay today for an airline fare in real terms. Yeah, no more meals and empty seats next to you but way cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      If demand goes down, we may see an immediate decrease in fuel prices, but I don’t think that would continue long term. Producers would simply cut outputs and allow prices to go back up to a sustainable level for them. Further exploration and drilling would he slowed or halted and that would spike demand and prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Sorry, but the airlines are now so regulated and certain airspace so crowded that it ain’t gonna happen. I can list the myriad things that would have to change. Your best hope is that short hop airline trips become impractical due to robot cars causing people to choose driving on much longer trips.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    “The agency expects the new standard to provide “significantly better protection for children… and adults,” with as many as 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks, 750 to 4,300 premature deaths, and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays prevented.”

    I guess when you’re not the person who has asthma it’s easy to stop caring.

    I can see both sides of the issue, and I don’t know enough to say whether 60ppm is too strict, but it’s worth considering.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      As a person who had childhood asthma, I can avoid the morality trap here. 60ppm is too strict. The way to avoid the attacks is to change your life style. Usually, it means moving. Because of that, I can assure you the numbers they claim here are wrong because people in high ozone areas have already adjusted.

      Besides that, the usual strategy of the regulators here is to create an inefficient transfer of value (sometimes tragically inefficient), and then take money and credit for doing so. I weep not for the asthma sufferer, but rather for the unknown victims of the lost resources from the billions lost.

      The whole thing is a lie anyway. The real issue is creation of ground level ozone. If that’s bad, tax it and move on.

    • 0 avatar
      ilkhan

      I’d agree with you if I believed their numbers. If its coming from the FedGov, divide by 5 to get the real benefits, and multiply by 5 to get the real cost.

      We’re well past the point of economical returns from EPA regulations. The last 1% is far too expensive to be able to justify to anybody sane.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Using the middle of their ranges of costs and benefits, that works out to $45,000 per puff on the inhaler, $237,000 per missed workday, $11.5 million per premature death.

    How rich do they think we are?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It’s still better than mandated back up cameras. Per NHTSA’s numbers, it will cost about $18M per life saved.

      Also, I actually believe the negative effects on health due to smog & particulates is worse than generally reported, but that’s just my opinion. If the govt really wanted to improve health/lives, they would go after tobacco first–it’s deadlier; there’s more bang-for-the-buck; and people not smoking actually saves them money to be spent elsewhere in the economy.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with your premise redav, but the letter of the law that I had read didn’t actually require back up cameras, so much as improved rear visibility devices. I believe the blind spot mirrors on many Fords actually achieve the requirements. Consumers are demanding back up cameras though. I’m with ol’ Mr. Ford in thinking anything more that a Model T is a form of gluttony, but it’s just not reality for the market. People want their cars to have all this junk on them and it’s far cheaper to the general consumer to make it standard than to have an options list to check since most people want most of the junk.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          It’s not up to the government to mandate features that have little to no benefit to the general welfare but come at increased cost. It’s a stupid requirement, especially on small cars. They overstepped their mandate on that one.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          From the USAToday article on the backup camera rule:

          “Under the rule, all vehicles would have to give the driver a view 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. There are also requirements for image size and other factors that all but require rear-view cameras as the only solution that complies.”

          The blind spot mirrors on Ford are fantastic, but they don’t offer the field of view directly behind the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        Backup cameras are useful on a daily basis especially if your vehicle has poor visibility to the rear. On my Infiniti G37 coupe, dis display includes lines that show where the sides of the car are located and a projected path that changes as the steering wheel is turned. It works so well that I can parallel park just by watching the screen. Long ago, I backed my RX-7 into a low post that was invisible from inside the car. Because of the backup camera, that can’t happen with my G37.

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        At least backup cameras are of daily benefit. The display in my Infiniti G37 coupe has lines that show the position of the sides of the car and a projected path that changes as the steering wheel is turned. With it, I can parallel park just by watching the screen. Long ago, I backed my RX-7 into a low post that was invisible from inside the car. That could never happen with the G37. When I bought the car seven years ago, the camera was part of a $2,000 navigation system. I use the camera daily, navigation once every year or two and haven’t felt a need to update its database.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The “damage” done due to lack of backup cameras is mitigateable by other means. And generally easily ascribed to the one causing it. IOW, there’s plenty of natural motivation against backing over children already baked in.

        With Ozone, the issue is more like littering laws, just even more diffused, since there is precious little the individual polluter can do about it even if he wanted to. If you’re going to have a government at all, things like this is probably what they should be involved in.

        It’s not a federal issue, though. Ground level ozone, is pretty darned local. And ought to be regulated locally. Driving up the cost of cars for farmers in the middle of nowhere, just because it makes life better for those piled ion top of each other in LA, needlessly distorts settlement decisions.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Driving up the cost of cars for farmers in the middle of nowhere, just because it makes life better for those piled ion top of each other in LA, needlessly distorts settlement decisions.”

          Hear, hear!

          But I have to ask, since you were commenting about an article on ozone, was “piled ion [sic] top of each other” a deliberate pun, a Freudian slip, or simply a unintentionally witty typo?

          Cheers!

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Dan,

      Do you realize that you are comparing yearly occurrences with one-time costs? Also, the costs go to 2025, but the benefits go on indefinitely.

      I know that billions sound like a lot of money, but the program costs work-out to the equivalent of a cup of coffee per American per year. Of course, almost all of the costs go back into American enterprises, so the net is much less than a cup of coffee per year.

      Maybe that’s still more than you are personally willing to pay for cleaner air, that’s up to you, but you should have a sense of proportion.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        One time costs? These multi billion dollar more expensive products and industrial processes are suddenly going to become free again in 2025? Why, if we just held off until 2026 the whole program wouldn’t cost a dime!

        Next, 9.5 billion dollars a year is “a cup of coffee per American per year.”

        That’s some expensive coffee.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I take it you’ve never been to Starbuck’s? It’s a well known coffee purveyor. If you work in a city, you are probably within 200 feet of one of their franchises.

          You sort of missed the whole point. Upgrades to powerplants and such don’t have to be renewed every year. Sure, there are maintenance costs, but they are a fraction of initial capital costs. In other words, if a new standard needs to be met by 2025, then the assumption is that the process will be completed by then.

          Also, a lot of these upgrades would be made regardless, and anybody currently working has never known a world without tightening air quality regulations. It’s not like our captains of industry can claim to be caught off guard.
          It’s a basic cost of doing business, filed under the heading of “you clean-up your own mess, cause we’re tired of doing it for you.”

          • 0 avatar
            ilkhan

            its a cup of coffee per American (spread across the 5% or so of Americans who buy a new car each year. Until next year when they up the standard and add another cup of coffee. And a third the next year.

            We’re now in year 30 in 30 different governmental programs. Thats a lot of coffee I have to buy the feds before I even get to take a sip for myself.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          30 dollars per American, that’s 10 starbucks coffees each. Congratulations on failing basic math. I would congratulate you on failing basic depreciation and R&D understanding but that’s too much credit.

  • avatar
    redav

    Like oil seeping into the Gulf of Mexico, some smog is naturally occurring (e.g., fires & apparently some plants can produce it). I’ve heard that the first Europeans to the LA region reported the same smoky haze as today’s smog (possibly caused by combination of fires & inversions). I wonder how clean the air would be if we actually had zero emissions and how low can we can actually reach.

    “The act would give states time to meet the new standards based on severity, with the worse expected to conform by 2020, to 2037 for lesser-affected areas.”
    – Presumably, those areas that are worse are already doing more to address the issue. (Houston requires more vapor controls on gas station dispensers than are in/around national parks.) That makes me doubt there are any off-the-shelf solutions that they can implement to meet the earlier goal.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Sometimes, I’m just glad I’m getting older.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    If the EPA was at all concerned with children, they’d start by banning aging and smog exempt school buses.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Fish got to swim, birds got to fly,
    Regulators got to regulate.

  • avatar
    Beachbunny

    Re: cheap airfare, it’s quite common in Europe. If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway over there, it’s easy and affordable.

    Re: ozone: Does anyone know what the naturally-occurring levels of ground ozone are in areas where there is minimal human involvement? I’m wondering if we’re heading to the same insanity as has gone on at the Everglades, where regulations are stricter than mother nature’s natural levels.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Cameron I very much like the image for the article, I’m assuming you chose it?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Just so you guys know, this has very little to do with air quality. This is pure politics at its worst. The folks behind this have made a rough calculation that the regulation is good for them and the folks on their side – the good people – while being very bad for the folks they hate.

    The reality is its bad for most everyone except some people who need to move for their health regardless of this regulation, but the way political thugs think that doesn’t matter anyway. They will gladly take a punch in the arm to see you take one in the groin.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    If health care billions are being “saved” with lower ozone standards then cut Medicare funding by that amount.
    Ozone from autos results from NOx tail pipe emissions and VOC’s such as escaping gasoline vapors. Been addressed.
    2005 Honda V6 California dyno smog check 2013 NO ppm max was 711 ppm, measured 1. Test before that measured 0.
    CA dropped the dyno smog test mid 2014. Current test is visual inspection and ECM dump to DMV.

  • avatar
    haroldingpatrick

    Let me preface this by saying i voted for Gary Johnson (libertarian) last time and believe that for the most part that this is America and consenting adults should live how they want to live.

    What’s wrong with cleaner air regardless of the cost? I can’t defend me and mine from pollution, but my government can and is doing so. Things are much cleaner now than when I was born in 1972 and not because of free markets. A lot of middle class people around the world (we’re all connected in the economic and spiritual sense) will be kept productively employed devising ways to meet this standard. Who cares about a nominal increase in the cost of a new vehicle. Vehicles are like food, when something costs more, you just buy something less expensive.

    It’s a mean old world and you gotta live in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      And less-expensive cars are no longer the penalty boxes they used to be (for the most part). You can buy a stripped-out subcompact hatchback and actually make it down the interstate without posing a hazard to other drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “What’s wrong with cleaner air regardless of the cost?”

      Seriously?

      Even the jack booted thugs at the EPA recognize they need to perform a cost-benefit analysis, even though the numbers are clearly cooked to justify whatever action they’ve already decided they want to take.

      “Things are much cleaner now than when I was born in 1972 and not because of free markets.”

      Because we free market types always argue that the only alternative to over-regulation is….no regulation at all. Brilliant analysis.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “What’s wrong with cleaner air regardless of the cost?”

      The question asked by someone with an uber-left, greenweenie agenda.

      BTW, I have never had to buy less of anything that was required for life sustenance, and that includes gasoline if the only mode of transportation is a motorized vehicle to get us where we’re going, and back.

      At $5+ a gallon of gas, people who needed it didn’t buy any less of it. They bought fewer, non-essential things instead and gas stayed at the top of their pyramid of needs.

      BTW, I voted for Gary Johnson as well. My wife and his wife have known each other for many decades.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Desert Cat,
        You claim to be independent, but every time you discuss politics, you can’t help but label the people you oppose as greenieweenie liberals. You seem to have forgotten that the EPA was enacted under a Republican president and that the rules being considered are the result of laws enacted by a bipartisan congress.

        You don’t have to be liberal to want to be able to breathe.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          There is nothing inconsistent about claiming to be an independent and labeling other people based on their posts. There are not just two sides in this country as much as establishment types keep trying to insist there is (except when it’s inconvenient anyway).

          The labeling thing gets me frustrated though. It’s practically necessary for discourse, but just because one shares a view with a group he isn’t necessarily part of the group or share any of their other values. Then you have the fact that one side virtually controls the labels. How wonderful.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Did our discussion of ad-blockers get moderated out of existence?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I didn’t know there was one on this thread, only on the “Aluminum Mainstreaming…” one. Was it here and I arrived too late, or did you post in this one by mistake. Either way, no harm, no foul.

  • avatar

    Every time I see a SULEV decal on a car, I also think of a guy who owns that car riding a lawn mower to cut his 1/8-acre suburban lawn and I think, “Yes. This all makes sense.”

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I…don’t follow. If one guy drives a SULEV, that makes no difference. If ten thousand guys drive SULEVs, that makes a big difference. If everyone who could drive a SULEV did (as in, it met all their needs as a DD), well…that’d solve the problem right there.

      • 0 avatar

        I find it funny that cars have gotten very, very clean in relation to anything, not just older unsmogged cars. Small 2-cycle motors? No so much.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Oh yeah. I get what you’re saying now. Yeah, it makes no sense why even from an engineering standpoint 2-strokes have remained almost completely unchanged for …how many years now? I swear the engine my dad put into his homebuilt go-cart in, like, 1975 is construction-wise nearly identical to the one in a brand-new $3000 lawn mower.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I have an ICE, a hybrid SULEV, and an EV. You wouldn’t believe what I do with the oil from the first two vehicles when I change it.

      Maybe some SULEV drivers vote “R” like me.

      I don’t know the science behind this study, but I do know asthma sufferers. If the linkage is as strong as the study suggests, tightening the ozone limits seems like a reasonable and affordable move.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    I seem to recall the existing standard getting a lot of flak a couple decades ago for being ridiculously close to, or in some regions lower than, naturally occurring ozone levels. But like the man above said, regulators gotta regulate.

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