Release 09-76
September 1, 2009

    Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2990
More than half of California's gas stations must be fitted with in-station diagnostic equipment
Added technology will ensure vapor-recovery equipment is functioning properly

SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board is alerting owners of 5,800 gas stations that today is the deadline to have installed vapor-recovery diagnostic equipment or have compliance agreements signed by local air-pollution authorities.

California gasoline-dispensing facilities with more than 1.8 million gallons annual throughput must be fitted with equipment that triggers alarms when failures occur within the vapor-recovery system. As of late August, about 85 percent of the facilities subject to this requirement had already installed the required equipment and all 275 stations in the Sacramento area are compliant.

"Gasoline fumes are a contributor to smog," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Installed diagnostic equipment will assure we get the reductions we need to protect our health."

Working with businesses and the 35 local air districts around the state, ARB developed a strategy to assist the remaining non-compliant facilities. Service stations that have not installed in-station diagnostic systems, or ISD, should obtain a compliance agreement and a permit from local air districts to begin the installation. Such agreements allow service stations to continue operations while completing the installation of ISD, until December 31, 2009. Service stations owners were notified that they must sign compliance agreements prior the ISD deadline of September 1, 2009.

Over the last two years, ARB and district staffs conducted extensive outreach to station owners, installation contractors and equipment suppliers, as well as to local agency staff who permit station upgrades. This included public workshops, informational meetings, advisories, vapor-recovery websites, e-list mailings, brochures, tradeshow exhibits as well as conversations with owners during annual inspections. Information on equipment financing was also distributed.

The enhanced vapor recovery systems, already installed on most stations throughout the state, reduce emissions that used to occur while refueling cars, like spillage and evaporation from nozzles, hoses, pumps and connections. Diagnostic equipment monitors existing vapor recovery equipment to ensure system integrity and maximize air quality benefits. Statewide, the combined vapor recovery regulations will reduce emissions of gasoline's volatile organic compounds by 25 tons-per-day.

Gasoline fumes release volatile organic compounds that are building blocks for the creation of ground-level ozone. The main constituent of smog, ozone is a serious threat to children whose lungs are developing and those with impaired breathing. It also damages crop yields and poses an economic burden to California.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at