WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Obama administration is moving forward with a dramatic reduction in sulfur in gasoline and tighter emissions standards for cars, arguing the move will eventually save thousands of lives per year.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The oil and gas industry warns the Environmental Protection Agency rules are unnecessary and will drive up gas prices. The rules will also add to the cost of buying a car.

The rules have been in the works for years but are being finalized Monday. They’ll start taking effect in 2017. The administration says it has built flexibility in so that refineries and others have time to adapt.

The EPA says gas prices should increase by only less than a penny. But an oil industry study puts the increase at 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon.

According to a blog post by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, reducing emissions from tailpipes in accordance with “Tier 3 standards” could prevent up to 2,000 premature deaths and could reduce hospital visits for asthma-related illnesses by the thousands.

“The benefits clearly outweigh the costs,” McCarthy wrote. “Using a proven approach that looks at cars and fuels together as an integrated system, the standards will return up to $13 in health benefits for every $1 spent to meet them. Once the standards are fully in place, the average cost to refineries is less than one cent per gallon of gasoline. That’s a small price to pay for cleaner air and more livable communities across America.”

Featured image via TonyV3112/Shutterstock.com.