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EPA orders refiners to cut sulfur content of gasoline

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WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is driving ahead with a dramatic reduction in sulfur in gasoline and tailpipe emissions, declaring that cleaner air will save thousands of lives per year at little cost to consumers.

Public health groups and automakers cheered the new rules, finalized Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, panned the move, calling it gratuitous and accusing the government of grossly underestimating the increased cost at the pump.

The rules require refineries to cut sulfur levels in gasoline by about two-thirds by 2017. Less sulfur in gasoline makes it easier for a car’s pollution controls to effectively filter out emissions, resulting in cleaner air, the EPA says.

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