Release 99-33
September 23, 1999 
CONTACT: Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730

ARB Moves to Reduce Emissions from Portable Gas Cans

     SACRAMENTO   The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today adopted a new regulation that reduces by over 70 percent the smog-forming emissions from portable gas cans.

     "Our research shows that these cans are a major source of pollution," said ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd.  "Today's action gets us moving toward reducing these emissions, and better protecting consumers," Dr. Lloyd added.

     The regulation mandates a number of changes in gas cans and gas can spouts sold in California starting January 1, 2001.  The regulation does not affect gas cans purchased before 2001.    Based on industry and government data, it is estimated that there are 9.8 million gas cans in California, with about 1.9 million new cans sold each year in the state.  The complete replacement of existing gas cans is anticipated by 2007.

     Portable gas cans now account for about 87 tons per day (TPD) of reactive organic gases (ROG) escaping into California's air.  Without the new regulation, that number would grow to 96 TPD by 2010.  However, the new regulation means ROG emissions will be reduced by 73 percent, cutting emissions to 26 TPD by 2010.

     Currently, gas cans contribute smog-forming emissions in at least five ways:

     The ARB regulation deals with these problems by requiring all containers and spouts to have a shut-off feature preventing fuel tank overfilling.  The spouts must also have an automatic closing feature so cans will be sealed when not in use.  Secondary venting holes will be eliminated and vapor permeation must be reduced to no more than 0.4 grams of ROG per gallon per day.

     The Air Resources Board, one of six agencies of the California Environmental Protection Agency, is California's air pollution control agency.  The 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.

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