Three petroleum suppliers fined for gasoline that violated California air quality regulations
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board today announced it has fined three petroleum product suppliers — Petro-Diamond Inc. of Irvine, Houston-based Vitol Inc. and Shell Oil Products US — for failure to comply with California air quality regulations.
Vitol, Petro-Diamond and Shell were fined $70,000, $50,000 and $45,000, respectively.
The fines were for gasoline that did not comply with California’s air quality regulations, and were specifically for different violations of the composition of what is known as CARBOB or California Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending. CARBOB is the ‘blendstock’ form of gasoline before an oxygenate, such as ethanol, is added to it to make finished gasoline found at gas stations. In each of these violations, the company either supplied, offered for supply, sold, offered for sale or transported non-complying fuel. In the Petro-Diamond case, about 210,000 gallons of the non-complying fuel made it into commerce, resulting in emissions consequences.
“Companies must demonstrate that their products will not result in excess emissions into our air,” said Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. “Periodic testing of fuel by companies and inspections by ARB assures that Californians will not be exposed to harmful air pollutants.”
In each case company representatives cooperated fully throughout ARB’s investigation and settlement process. In the case of Petro-Diamond, a routine inspection of fuel in the distribution system by ARB’s enforcement staff revealed that Petro-Diamond supplied CARBOB with a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) exceeding the state standard from its Long Beach terminal. Gasoline with high RVP results in excessive evaporative hydrocarbon emissions, more so during the warm summer months. Hydrocarbons are major contributors in the formation of smog.
Earlier this year, in two separate incidents, petroleum product suppliers and distributors Vitol and Shell Oil Products US each self-disclosed violations of the state’s gasoline fuel regulation. In each case, RVP values exceeded the regulated cap. Vitol’s violation was the result of a miscommunication between Vitol and the pipeline carrier, resulting in more than 930,000 gallons of the non-compliant fuel being piped from a tank in Carson to other tanks. In the Shell Oil Products case, non-compliant fuel was transported on a barge from Martinez in Northern California to Mormon Island in the Los Angeles area. In each case fuel was brought into compliance before being released for sale into California.