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The Environmental Protection Agency will not require automakers to equip new cars with a device to keep gasoline fumes from escaping into the environment, President Bush said Friday.

Campaigning in Michigan for tomorrow's presidential primary, Bush said the decision will not only promote safety but also "relieve the automobile industry of a costly regulatory burden."

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He said the US Transportation Department had raised safety concerns that the so-called on-board canister systems increased the risk of vehicle fires.

Since 1987 the government has been studying the problem of what to do about gasoline vapors that escape into the atmosphere when a car is refueled at a service station.

Instead of forcing automakers to install canisters in cars to trap pollution-causing vapors, the EPA will require service stations to install nozzles on gasoline pumps to catch the emissions, a White House official said earlier in the week.

"The necessary pollution reductions will be achieved more quickly through safer, less costly measures that can be targeted at high pollution areas," a statement from the White House said.

Bush also announced he will be taking additional action aimed at improving economic conditions in the automobile industry.

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association of the United States Inc., which represents the US auto industry, had said the new canisters would have added $50 to $150 to the price of a new car.

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