How nice. Via Reuters:

The Obama administration on Monday announced new fuel and automobile rules to cut soot, smog and toxic emissions, which it says will reduce asthma and heart attacks in the United States.

The so-called Tier 3 rules unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency have been under development since President Barack Obama issued a memorandum instructing the agency to develop them in 2010.

The rules, the third tier in a series of standards, will cut gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60 percent and should also reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions from cars, light and medium-duty trucks and some heavy-duty vehicles. …

Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,000 premature deaths per year and 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children while adding only an average of 1 cent per gallon to the cost of gasoline, the agency estimated.

“By reducing these pollutants and making our air healthier, we will bring relief to those suffering from asthma, other lung diseases and cardiovascular disease, and to the nation as a whole,” said Dr. Albert Rizzo, former chairman of the American Lung Association.

Well, it certainly is difficult to argue with that kind of math — and don’t they know it. The EPA , however, is notoriously nebulous with how they conduct their cost-benefit analyses, consistently putting a particular emphasis on only one side of the equation. When you track these changes all the way down the economic food chain, “only” one cent per gallon added on to the price of gasoline certainly isn’t nothing, and the adamantly opposed oil industry estimates that the added costs will actually come out a lot higher than that. Sure, they’ve got their interests to protect, but let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking the EPA is doing this out of the politically indifferent auspices of their pure hearts, either — and seeing how “government estimates” usually go, I’m inclined to lean toward the pricier estimate, via the WFB:

The EPA estimates the price of gasoline will rise by two-thirds of a cent per gallon as a result. The sticker price of a car will also increase by $75. …

However, the oil industry opposed the new rule, saying it will raise costs for producers and consumers while not significantly improving air quality. Ninety percent of sulfur is already removed from gasoline under current regulations.

“This rule’s biggest impact is to increase the cost of delivering energy to Americans, making it a threat to consumers, jobs, and the economy,” the American Petroleum Institute’s Downstream and Industry Operations Group Director Bob Greco said in a statement. “But it will provide negligible, if any, environmental benefits. In fact, air quality would continue to improve with the existing standard and without additional costs.”

The EPA’s cost-estimate is also disputed by industry analysts. Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers lobbying group, told the New York Times that the price of gasoline could rise by 9 cents per gallon under the new rule.

“I don’t know what model [the EPA] uses,” Drevna said. “The math doesn’t add up.”

Progressives always justify their expensive regulations on the oil sector by painting a lovely populist picture of the added costs coming out of executives’ ill-begotten mega-profits or something, but make no mistake: This is going to translate into a hike in the price of gasoline, and a pretty big one, at that. The very least the EPA could do is get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard while they’re at it, but that would take a level of political courage the Obama administration most certainly does not posses.