Release 08-88
October 2, 2008

    Dimitri Stanich
Gas station owners reminded of vapor recovery system requirements
April 1 deadline is fast approaching

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board today is reminding California's service station owners that they must upgrade vapor recovery systems on their gasoline pumps by April 1 as part of a program that will reduce smog emissions by up to ten tons a day throughout the state.

The regulation applies to approximately 12,000 gasoline dispensing facilities in parts of the state failing to meet state health standards for ozone - including the Los Angeles basin, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, greater Sacramento region and San Diego. Owners of these facilities must obtain permits, purchase enhanced vapor recovery equipment and arrange for installation by a certified contractor in the next six months. The retrofitted devices will reduce spillage with improved nozzles and cut gasoline vapor fugitive emissions with vapor processors.

"We are turning over every stone in our constant quest to reduce smog levels in California," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "There's no excuse for not meeting the deadline - people know it's coming, the technology to comply is there and the public health benefits are easily quantifiable. Penalties for missing the deadline will not only cost operators, but delay clean air for many regions of the state."

Gasoline vapors are primarily made of hydrocarbons, which react with other air pollutants to form ozone. The main constituent of smog, ozone has been the focus of air pollution control regulations for decades as it can lead to asthmatic and other respiratory health effects. The vapor recovery systems will also reduce consumer exposures to benzene, a constituent of gasoline and known carcinogen, while filling their vehicles.

California's total annual gasoline use is about 16 billion gallons. The state's current vapor recovery requirements reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 347 tons daily.

ARB fuels experts estimate that the retrofits will cost roughly $11,000 per pump, with two companies having received ARB certification on their technologies and another expected this month.

Facility operators should contact the local air district for information on specific requirements before modifying facilities. Information to assist station owners in complying with deadlines is available at

Vapor recovery systems have been used in California to control gasoline emissions for over 30 years. ARB oversees the gasoline distribution process throughout the state, including storage and transfer operations. Enforcement personnel from ARB and the 35 local air districts will be monitoring and enforcing the regulations throughout the state.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.