A recent report released by the American Lung Association found that by 2030 the EPA's proposed fuel efficiency standards could prevent more than 2,500 premature deaths each year and be equivalent to taking 33 million cars off the road.
The proposed Tier 3 program would mandate new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content in gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 by 2017. The average cost per car over the course of its lifetime would be close to $130, about a penny per gallon.
A report by the EPA presented similar statistics, and found that up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory illness in children could help be prevented with the new standards.
The American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, also released a report this week that said the Tier 3 regulations wouldn't provide any measurable ozone air quality benefits. The group warned that the change could increase gas prices by 30 percent by 2015 and calls the proposal "ill-conceived."