CLEANER gasoline means cleaner-running cars. That's the environmental message major oil companies have advertised for years. So why do refiners object to low-sulfur fuel that would cut air pollution the equivalent of removing 50 million cars from the road?
Primarily, the cost. Billions of dollars would be needed to convert refineries to remove the natural sulfur from petroleum. The cost of a gallon of gasoline could rise by 10 cents to 20 cents, the industry warns.
The auto industry wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require a nationwide gasoline with 90 percent less sulfur than the current 340 parts per million average. Sulfur destroys the ability of catalytic converters in autos to burn up exhaust pollutants, coating and poisoning the cleanup devices used on 190 million vehicles in this country.