Friday, May 18, 2012

FInal Rule Phasing Out Gas Vapor Recovery Systems For Refueling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the systems used at gas station pumps to capture gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out. Modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. This final rule is part of initiatives to ensure that regulations protect public health and the environment without being unnecessarily burdensome.

Beginning later this year, states may begin the process of phasing out vapor recovery systems at the pump since approximately 70% of all vehicles are equipped with on-board systems that capture these vapors. This final rule will ensure that air quality and public health are protected while potentially saving the approximately 31,000 affected gas stations located in mostly urban areas more than $3,000 each year when fully implemented.

Since 1994, gas stations in areas that do not meet certain air quality standards have been required to use gasoline vapor recovery systems. The systems capture fumes that escape from gasoline tanks during refueling. However, as required by the Clean Air Act, automobile manufacturers began installing onboard refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) technologies in 1998, making gas stations’ systems increasingly redundant. Since 2006, all new automobiles and light trucks (pickups, vans and SUVs) are equipped with ORVR systems.

The final rule responds to public comments on EPA’s July 2011 proposal, and will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

Caltha LLP provides specialized expertise to clients nationwide in the evaluation environmental rules, developing EH&S compliance procedures, and preparing cost-effective EH&S management programs.
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