Glade Sowards – Department of Environmental Quality
There’s been a lot of buzz in Utah lately about Tier 3—shorthand for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Tier 3 Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards Program. When a geeky name like Tier 3 becomes a household word that’s used not only by us policy wonks but by Governor Herbert, mayors, legislators, radio talk-show hosts, and even soccer moms and dads—well, you know something’s up.
So what is Tier 3 anyway? Well, as its full name implies, Tier 3 is a new standard—the third in a series of such standards—that was finalized by EPA this past spring. The rule requires a partnership between vehicle manufacturers and petroleum refiners to produce cleaner cars and cleaner gasoline to help improve our air quality.
How much cleaner? When fully implemented following a phase-in period between 2017 and 2025, the average new passenger vehicle will emit 80 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than the average Tier 2 car emits today. In addition, every new passenger vehicle will see a 70 percent reduction in directly emitted particulate matter (PM) from Tier 2 standards. (…)