Summer Gas Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk

Senator Elder Vogel (R-47) today announced that the Senate concurred in amendments made by the House to legislation he introduced with Senator Tim Solobay (D-46) designed to make gasoline cheaper for western Pennsylvania motorists.

Senate Bill 1386 as amended would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to review and reevaluate the state implementation plan under the Federal Clean Air Act in relation to compliance requirements for low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline, or “summer gas.” The review will require DEP to conduct meetings to consult with impacted organizations or entities including gasoline refining and distribution companies, gasoline retailers, pipeline owners, impacted businesses, public utilities, local governments and other interested entities and provide regular updates to the legislature.

The bill also provides that if a supply disruption occurs, the Governor shall submit a request to EPA to waive the requirements of summer gas if 5% of all existing gasoline retailers in the 7 county region of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties are unable to obtain an adequate supply of RVP gasoline.

“While my hope had been to eliminate the summer gas requirement, it became necessary to move this issue forward so that we address the issue of supply disruptions for Western Pennsylvanians,” Vogel said. “The Administration and DEP are opposed to repealing the requirement because of the federal government holding back transportation funding for Pennsylvania, but I will continue to strongly advocate the repeal of the summer gas requirement.”

In addition, the legislation will allow for the termination of another regulation requiring gas stations in the same seven county region in Pittsburgh, as well as the five county region of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia, to install Stage II vapor recovery systems on fuel pumps. These pumps prevent the release of gasoline vapors when in use, but the law contains a specific provision to eliminate the requirement if onboard refueling emissions controls in vehicles became widespread. Since 2000, all passenger cars and light trucks have been required to be manufactured to include onboard refueling emissions controls. These controls work by stopping gasoline vapors from coming back out the fill pipe by circulating the vapors back into the fuel tank. The combination of onboard refueling controls and Stage II systems on fuel pumps are less effective than either system alone.