Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) recently was awarded the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Utah Manufacturers Association for its Tier 3 gasoline project.
Five years ago, prior to being purchased by MPC, the company committed to manufacturing lower sulfur Tier 3 gasoline for sale in the Utah market at its Salt Lake City refinery. The company made this decision before there were any tax incentives available from the state to produce Tier 3 locally instead of complying with the regulation by other means. A substantial financial investment was made to expand the Salt Lake refinery’s gasoline hydrotreater to reduce the sulfur content of the gasoline manufactured for sale in Utah to meet the Tier 3 standard.
MPC is committed to making the communities in which it operates better for all stakeholders. The company opted to complete the Tier 3 gasoline project to benefit the community in which the refinery operates, the environment and Utah residents. Because of the company’s commitment to corporate citizenship and environmental stewardship, a financial commitment was made to make the air quality in Utah better through this project.
Tier 3 is the EPA’s latest standard for gasoline and emissions controls in new cars. It reduces the sulfur content in gasoline from 30ppm to 10ppm. Tier 3 gasoline is one of the most important strategies for reducing air pollution locally. In fact, the EPA claims that no state would benefit more from having Tier 3 gasoline than Utah. Vehicles contribute nearly half of the Salt Lake Valley’s wintertime fine particulate pollution that gets trapped during temperature inversions. Sulfur is a precursor pollutant that leads to the formation of both wintertime particulate pollution and summertime ozone. Less sulfur in gasoline means less sulfur entering the atmosphere from the tailpipes of cars and trucks.
When Tier 3 gasoline is burned in a new Tier 3 car (model year 2017 and newer), the car emits 80% less pollution, which is the equivalent of removing 4 out of 5 cars off Utah’s roads. Tier 3 also has an immediate benefit for pre-Tier 3 cars as well. Burning Tier 3 gasoline in a pre-Tier 3 vehicle reduces the emissions coming from that car’s tailpipe by 12-15%.
Additionally, sulfur causes trouble for emissions control equipment in cars, like catalytic converters. As sulfur from gasoline builds up on the catalyst, it makes it function poorly. Less sulfur buildup will increase the life of the catalyst and improve its function, making the vehicle run cleaner for a longer period of time.