(NECN/NBC News: Steve Handelsman, Washington) - Environmentalists and car companies are hailing it as one of the best things President Barack Obama has done. It's a proposed new rule, out Friday, to make gasoline cleaner and our air safer.
There's been a battle over this behind the scenes. And the oil companies lost.
The move by the Obama EPA would impose California's tighter standards on the nation starting in 2017
It means less sulfur allowed in gasoline, lower tailpipe emissions, and cleaner air.
Environmentalists claiming $7 in lower health care costs for every dollar spent
And, almost zero pain at the pump. One cent.
"We're looking at a penny a gallon, and we can guarantee the consumers will not discern any impact in cost increases at the pump from this proposal," said William Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.
That sounds great.
When asked if he’d pay a penny a day to make the air cleaner, his car run better and make people healthier, car owner Frank Parker answered: “I think it’s a good idea.”
How about nine cents a gallon more?
“That’s a big discrepancy,” Paker said. “I think that’s a bad idea.”
And up to nine cents a gallon is what the oil companies claim the new rule would cost.
"At the end of the day it's billions of dollars,” said Rayola Douglas, a senior economist with the American Petroleum Institute. “ May not even sound like a lot -- nine cents doesn't sound like a lot. You multiply times all those billions of gallons sold it's billions of dollars we're talking about."
Still, car companies called the Obama move a big step forward. Catalytic converters would work better.
President Obama was in Miami, promoting a $21 billion plan to sell more bonds to upgrade highways and the like.
"Building better roads and bridges and schools,” Obama said. “That’s not a partisan idea"
In fact, the Obama move to invest again in highways and to mandate cleaner gasoline does have GOP opposition.
One senior Republican on Capitol Hill said we can't afford policies that raise gas prices.