The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Tier 3 sulfur-reduction rules could stifle the development of alternative-fuel vehicles by promoting production of more-efficient conventional vehicles, observers said. The EPA's proposal "simply extends indefinitely the viability of traditional automobile engines," said Francis X. Lyons, a former EPA administrator for the Great Lakes area. Some environmentalists, however, say greater output of alternative-fuel vehicles would still be needed to meet long-term carbon-reduction goals.

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