The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that current regulations to reduce ozone air pollution are insufficient. The agency issued a proposed rule to tighten the standard from 0.08 parts per million, averaged over eight hours, to around 0.07 ppm. The EPA may even reconsider whether to set limits to 0.06 ppm as had been recommended by the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.
Ground-level ozone, the principal component of smog, is formed when sunlight heats pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and unburned hydrocarbons from car exhaust, industrial emissions, gasoline vapors and other sources. Stricter ozone limits would likely translate into tougher tailpipe standards for cars, along with new requirements covering utility smokestacks and industrial boilers.
The traditional mechanisms for reducing auto emissions have been cleaner fuels, better catalytic converters and more precise computer controls of engine combustion. The EPA is expected to issue a final rule in the spring of 2008.
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