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Salt Lake County switches to cleaner Tier 3 gas, challenges others to follow suit

Easily available, the cleaner-burning fuel is key to clearing Utah’s air pollution, says Mayor Jenny Wilson.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County is requiring that county vehicles and heavy machinery like lawn mowers and trimmers in the fleet use cleaner burningTier 3 fuel to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the county, Oct. 10, 2021.

Midvale • From now on, every vehicle in Salt Lake County’s fleet will run on cleaner burning Tier 3 gasoline — and Mayor Jenny Wilson wants others to join the effort.

“I’d like to challenge businesses and policymakers to do the same thing and commit to purchasing only Tier 3 fuel,” she said Wednesday. “Pollution knows no boundaries… So this needs to be a collaborative, collective effort.”

Tier 3 fuel has less sulfur so it burns cleaner and some say it’s vital to meeting Utah’s need to cut health-threatening air pollution from motorists traversing the Wasatch Front.

In cars made after 2017, it slashes emissions by 80%, while in older cars the benefit is about 13%.

This gas isn’t hard to get. Anyone who fills up at Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Sinclair, Speedway or Texaco stations are using Tier 3 gas. A full list of stations is available at tier3gas.org.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mayor Jenny Wilson announced Wednesday that Salt Lake County is requiring that county vehicles and other heavy machinery, like lawn mowers and trimmers in the fleet, use cleaner burningTier 3 fuel to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the county, Oct. 10, 2021.

Wilson and Salt Lake County are the first government entity in Utah to pledge only to use this cleaner gasoline. It will power the county’s 750 vehicles. It’ll also be used in gas powered weed eaters and track hoes.

The mayor sees this as an interim step in her efforts to reduce pollution.

“This new standard will help us reduce our emissions and make the air as clean as we can while we work on converting our entire fleet to electric vehicles,” Wilson said.

Breathe Utah Executive Director Ashley Miller thanked the county for bringing attention to Tier 3 fuels.

“Fleets are such an important part of solving our air quality challenges,” she said. “I hope other entities with fleets evaluate the benefit of making the commitment to Tier 3 gasoline.”

Most of Utah’s refineries now produce Tier 3 fuel, after taking advantage of tax credits the Legislature approved in 2017.

Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper, is the co-chair of the air quality caucus and the creator or tier3gas.org. She called the county’s switch “a game changer.”

“I encourage everyone to take this step,” she said, “whether you’re a business, an individual or a government.”

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