Friday, December 21, 2018

EPA Approves DEP Request To Eliminate 7.8 RVP Gasoline In Pittsburgh Region Which Increased Summer Gasoline Prices Up To 15 Cents/Gallon

On December 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection published a notice in the Federal Register formally approving DEP’s request to eliminate the mandate for 7.8 Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline in the Pittsburgh Region.
The low-RVP gasoline requirement affected Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality concluded the low-RVP gasoline requirement contributed minimally to improved air quality and was trending toward no air quality benefits for the region at all.
At the same time, this special blend of gasoline for only these 7 counties from May to September typically raised the cost of gasoline for motorists in Western Pennsylvania from 10 to 15 cents a gallon over what consumers over the border in Ohio and nearby communities were paying.
The one remaining paperwork issue is with Allegheny County, since the Health Department there runs its own Air Quality Program.  
The Allegheny County Health Department has not yet submitted its formal regulation change eliminating 7.8 RVP gasoline from its requirements to DEP/EPA for approval, according to EPA’s December 20 notice.
Allegheny County suspended enforcement of the requirement in May of 2018 when DEP did and it maintains that posture now, according to its website, but some gasoline refiners questioned whether they would still be vulnerable to third party lawsuits if they did not continue to supply the more costly 7.8 RVP gasoline.
So, at the moment, the mandate for the more costly gasoline is off the books in Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties, but not technically yet for Allegheny County.

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