The Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today (November 19) unanimously approved legislation designed to end a “hidden” tax that drives up the costs of gasoline for western Pennsylvanians.

Senate Bill 1037 eliminates statutory requirements for low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties during the summer months. This “summer gas” is routinely more expensive than gasoline sold in the rest of Pennsylvania and also in neighboring Ohio and West Virginia.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Since 1999, the state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency have required that gasoline sold between June 1 and September 15 in the seven-county Greater Pittsburgh Area have a RVP of 7.8psi. Regular gasoline has an RVP of 9.0.

“This means that people in a seven-county area of western Pennsylvania often pay 10 to 15 cents more per gallon for gas than those in neighboring counties and just across the border in Ohio,” said Senator Elder Vogel said. “Basically, the RVP regulation is nothing more than a hidden tax, not only at the pump but also on goods and services. Senate Bill 1037 ends that unfair and costly regulation on the people of western Pennsylvania.”

Senator Tim Solobay said the requirement is outdated and no longer needed to protect air quality. “The requirement is 20 years old and we’re in a radically different place now.  It’s time to modernize the law to reflect modernization of the automobile industry,” Senator Solobay said. “It’s time to end these outdated mandates and give people a break at the pump.”


Mike Rader
(717) 787-3076

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