Air Quality Violations Settled for $55,000
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – Two air quality violation cases, one against Equilon Enterprises and the other against Tosco Corporation, have been settled for a sum of $55,000. These companies were found to have sold gasoline in California that did not meet legally established Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standards. RVP is a measurement of how quickly gasoline evaporates.
"Evaporative standards are a means to minimize the fumes from gasoline, and therefore reduce pollution," explained Executive Officer Michael Kenny, of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board's (ARB). "When gasoline that doesn't meet these standards is used, it damages the health and economy of all Californians."
The case against Equilon arose when ARB's sampling of regular and premium grade gasolines at their Los Angeles Refinery indicated they had RVP readings exceeding appropriate limits. It is suspected that the violation was caused by modifications to Equilon's vapor recovery system. Equilon's fine of $30,000 will go to California's Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF), which is used to mitigate various sources of pollution throughout the state.
During a routine inspection at Tosco's Richmond terminal, ARB found that the premium gasoline being sold from one of their tanks exceeded RVP limits. The cause of the violation is believed to have been damage and subsequent repair to a tank after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Tosco paid $25,000 to the APCF.
The RVP characteristic of gasoline is controlled through variations in the refinement process. As RVP increases gasoline evaporates more easily. As the RVP decreases fewer vapors are released. The summertime RVP standard for California is 7.0 pounds per square inch. For each pound of RVP increase, the evaporative nature of the gasoline increases by nearly 35 percent. These fumes contribute to the formation of ozone, which is a major contributor to smog, and causes crop loss, lung disease, and premature death. To combat this, California has established gasoline standards that optimize RVP characteristics with other refining concerns.