Gas Fume Vapor Systems Have Net Negative

Aug 16, 2012 Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

The federal  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires gas stations surrounding areas historically recognized as having air quality issues to equip gasoline pump nozzles with vapor recovery systems intended to siphon off fumes while pumping gasoline. But now Pennsylvania will no longer require new gas stations to have the vapor capture technology.

Currently, vapor recovery systems are required in nearly 1,600 service stations in 12 counties around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Since the regulation was adopted though, automobile makers implemented the same technology in vehicles, and instead of having double the fume protection from the pump and the car, the two systems off-set each other, creating even more emissions to be released while filling up.

Kevin Sunday, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said the EPA then left it up to the states to decide whether or not they wanted to require gas stations to have vapor recovery systems.

"So what we've done here is say any existing gas station needs to--for now--keep that technology, but any gas station that is under construction or would exist in the future, DEP is not going to enforce the requirement for them to have this technology," Sunday said.

Sunday said car owners who have vehicles without the vapor recovery system filling up at a gas station that also doesn't have the technology will probably not notice a difference at the pump.

"I think a large majority of people don't really notice anything different with the gas pumps that have this technology versus the ones that don't," Sunday said.  "The impact to people filling up their gas is going to be very minimal and unnoticed."