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The Gas Regs Act: Assessing the Impact of Environmental Regulations on Gas Prices, Jobs, and the Economy

Will New Regulations Increase Gas Prices?

May 15, 2012

The administration has already issued and plans to propose a range of new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that have the potential to increase gas prices.  Some rules increase reporting and permitting requirements, which means more time and money spent filling out paperwork. Other rules could require fuel producers and refineries to change the way they operate, mandate retrofitting their facilities with new equipment or changing manufacturing processes, or direct changes in the formulation of fuel. While such regulations are sometimes evaluated on an individual basis, the federal government has a responsibility to the American people and the economy to assess the cumulative impact of the layers of regulations before imposing new rules that impact jobs, the economy and consumers.

The Gasoline Regulations Act asks regulators to look before leaping when it comes to regulations affecting gas prices. Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) offered this legislation to understand the consequences of current and planned environmental regulations on gas prices before new regulations that may drive up costs for consumers are issued.

What’s at stake?

The EPA has already issued rules that cost billions of dollars, some of which impact the production, transportation and distribution of gasoline and diesel fuel. EPA has announced that they plan to issue even more rules. New regulations, on top of existing regulations, create significant burdens on U.S. businesses and consumers, but how much? And what do those burdens mean for price at the pump? For our recovering economy? Among the unanswered questions—

  • How much will these regulations add to high gas prices?
  • Will the regulations cause plant closures and hurt jobs in the U.S.?
  • What are the impacts on consumers? Small businesses?
  • Will low-income communities and state, local and tribal governments be affected?

The Gas Regs Act: What it Will Do

  • The Gas Regs Act will require an interagency committee to assess the combined impacts of recent or planned major environmental regulations on the price of gasoline, and diesel fuels. It will analyze the cumulative impact on jobs, our economy, global economic competitiveness of the United States, and the effect of regulations on capital investment.
  • The Gas Regs Act will assess how regulations affect consumers, small businesses, state, local and tribal governments, local and industry-specific labor markets, and public health.
  • An initial draft of the report will be made available for public comment within 90 days of enactment of the legislation, and a final report by the interagency committee will be due not later than 60 days after the close of the public comment period.
  • In addition, the Gas Regs Act will delay implementation of several costly new EPA rules that would change the formulation of gasoline or add costly burdens on American refineries until the economic impacts of these rules are fully understood by regulators and the public, and require that EPA take cost and feasibility into account when setting new ozone standards.

The Gas Regs Act: What it Will Not Do

  • The Gas Regs Act will not prevent EPA from continuing to develop regulations.
  • The Gas Regs Act will not limit the EPA’s authority to protect public health and welfare.
  • The Gas Regs Act will not require a lengthy, costly process, but instead requires a temporary interagency committee to expeditiously perform this critical analysis.

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U.S. Representative Fred Upton

U.S. Representative Joe L. Barton

Congressman Fred Upton has represented the commonsense values of southwest Michigan since 1987. In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Read More»;