If you haven't yet heard, the U.S. EPA recently announced changes to the amount of smog allowed. The agency is proposing to set the “primary” standard at a level between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million (ppm), setting the stage for parts of the country to slash vehicle emissions, possibly driving up repair costs and increasing the cost of gasoline.
I want to be clear- I'm not taking a side with this story- there are pros and cons to just about everything, I simply am trying to relay facts about what impact this could make on your bottom line. If you like clean air, you may support the EPA 100%. However, if your vehicle is older and has not been maintained, you may see required repairs in your future. Motorists in the noted areas may also see forced changes to the type of gasoline required, increasing the price they must pay at the pump.
While California already has some of the most strict pollution limits in the country, areas of the state are suddenly on the EPAs watchlist. Many areas of California suffer from high vehicle emissions, but are already using types of gasoline that produce lower emissions. (READ MORE!)
While the deadline to lower pollution is a long way off, you should know to meet these deadlines, cities and states may enact vehicle emissions test, if they haven't already. This could mean if you've neglected to properly maintain your car, this law may force you to bring your vehicle back into compliance. This would reduce the carbon footprint of your vehicle, bringing it back into spec.
If many people are forced to repair their vehicles at the same time, it could even result in a higher repair bill than normal. While emissions systems are generally guaranteed for a longer amount of time than a general warranty, the issue usually is not with malfunctioning emissions systems, but with an engine that is running poorly.
You may also be required to fill up with RFG- reformulated gasoline. This gasoline costs most to produce, but offers lower emissions than traditional gasoline. The cost can vary depending on time of year and location, but RFG gasoline can cost as much as twenty five cents more per gallon- ouch!
Having said all this, the EPA will likely not flex much on its newest requirements, so be prepared for the coming years when pollution standards may be adjusted. To see how your community rates in air quality, check out
the EPAs Ground Level Ozone Maps!