Tier 3 vehicle emission proposed rule comment period closed

By Holly Jessen | July 03, 2013

The comment period on the U.S. EPA’s Tier 3 emission standards for the Vehicle Emission and Fuel standards Program closed July 1.  Previously set to end June 13, the comment period was extended 18 days.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Renewable Fuels Association both urged swift implementation of the final rule. BIO said in a press release that the final Tier 3 rule could maximize investment in and adoption of advanced biofuels. “EPA clearly recognizes that the most effective and efficient way to achieve the important goals of the proposed rule is to work to harmonize it with other policies affecting and regulating the transportation fuel sector throughout the country, including the renewable fuel standard, Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (commonly known as CAFE standards) and California’s Low Emission Vehicle Program,” wrote Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section in formal comments submitted to the agency. “BIO supports the proposed rule and believes that the final Tier 3 rule has the potential to encourage the continued development and commercialization of all biofuels.”

RFA also responded with comments on the proposed rule. “RFA supports a swift implementation schedule for the proposed changes in Tier 3 NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking),” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO. “We commend the agency for its efforts to reduce the sulfur content of our nation’s fuels and emissions of air toxics and particulate matter from our motor vehicles.”

For the most part, the proposed rules pertain to auto manufacturers and gasoline refiners. However, RFA did identify 11 areas of concern for the ethanol industry. One was that E16 to E0 blends should be categorized as alternative fuels. RFA also was concerned that the certification fuel for flex-fuel vehicles could discourage production of those vehicles and asserted that the EPA should make the Reid vapor pressure rules the same for E10 and E15. Finally, the RFA noted that it supported the EPA’s proposal to make E15 the certification test fuel beginning in 2017. A complete list of all 11 points as well as a link to RFA’s full comments can be found on the group’s website.