Phillips 66 Company fined $200,000 for violating California’s gasoline regulation
SACRAMENTO – The Phillips 66 Company has agreed to pay $200,000 in penalties for violations of California’s reformulated gasoline regulations.
Phillips “sold, offered for sale, supplied, offered for supply, or transported for eight days” gasoline in violation of state regulations. Phillips 66 is an American multinational energy company headquartered in Houston, Texas.
“CARB enforcement teams are working on a daily basis to enforce regulations adopted to protect public health,” CARB Enforcement Chief Todd Sax said. “Our investigation revealed that Phillips 66 was violating California’s fuel requirements, and this agreement helps ensure these types of violations will not occur in the future. We expect all companies that supply fuel in California to meet our fuel requirements that help protect Californians from lung-damaging ozone and airborne toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.”
CARB discovered the violations during a routine inspection at the company’s tank farm in Torrance. A batch of reformulated gasoline exceeded aromatics limits, set to protect public health. Higher aromatics lead to ozone and nitrogen oxides. Additionally, they contribute to smog which can cause eye irritation, coughing, difficulty breathing, and inflamed airways. Smog also can aggravate existing lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema, and increase the frequency of asthma attacks.
The company’s own internal investigations revealed the root cause of the violation was faulty lab equipment that resulted in readings that were lower than the true values. Following the discovery, Phillips 66 took preventative steps, such as tightening quality assurance standards, to ensure future compliance.
Phillips 66 has already paid half of the settlement, or $100,000, to California’s Air Pollution Control Fund, which helps ensure the integrity of California’s air pollution control programs by mitigating various effects of air pollution through the advancement of cleaner technology and educational programs. The company agreed to allocate the remainder to a supplemental environmental project by Tree Fresno that will assess the effectiveness of ‘green barriers’ at protecting people from exposure to air pollution. Green barriers are trees and other vegetation placed between neighborhoods and major pollution sources, including freeways and industry.