Release 92-02

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT:           Jerry Martin February 14, 1992                                                                                              Allan Hirsch
                                                                                                                          (916) 322-2990
                                                                                                                          www.arb.ca.gov


Air Resources Board Chairwoman's Response to Auto/Oil Study on Cars/Cars

        SACRAMENTO - Jananne Sharpless, Air Resources Board (ARB) chairwoman today released the following statement critical of the recently released Auto/Oil study regarding cars and gasoline.

        "The study compares air pollution from dirty gasoline that is already outdated in California with emissions from cars equipped with pollution controls that will be obsolete by the time any methanol cars are mass-produced.

        "What the study calls "conventional" gasoline is currently being produced. But California has already adopted new standards for 1996. That so called "reformulated" gasoline is, in fact, cleaner, everyday gasoline required for all grades and all cars.

        "The technology on the flex-fuel fleet used in the study reflects today's pollution controls, but not the technology that car makers are expected to use for 1994 and later model to meet California emission standards.

        "The study suggests reformulation changes for gasoline that will make it burn cleaner (and presumably closer to methanol). Those changes have already been adopted to California.

         "The study suggests that methanol will cost about 12 cents per gallon more than gasoline by the time it is widely used. That is equal to the cost estimates for meeting California's Phase 2 reformulated gasoline standards. According to those statistics, methanol will cost about the same as everyday cleaner gasoline by the time both are in use.

         "The study suggests that the use of methanol gasoline blends will increase ozone (urban smog) pollution from conventional cars by 26 percent. This is not possible.

        "The ARB has already established that emissions from a methanol-powered vehicle are 50 percent less smog-forming than the same volume of emissions from a gasoline powered car, because of their lower reactivity. In addition, the technology on future cars will be improved other than that used in the study.

         "Ultimately, neither methanol or gasoline is, by itself, environmentally superior. Emission standards dictate how much cars can pollute. Fuel and technology combined determine how cars meet emission standards. Methanol simply becomes one more tool for car makers to use in meeting them. All cars must meet the same emission standards, regardless of which fuel is used."

        In November 1991, the ARB adopted eight gasoline specifications for 1996 and beyond that will produce the world's cleanest gasoline. Those clean gasoline standards are expected to equal the pollution reductions of the ARB's low emission vehicle program, its clean diesel fuel standards and the current Phase 1 clean gasoline standards combined.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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