Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance






  • On October 31, 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed air toxics standards for smaller emitting sources, called area sources, of gasoline distribution facilities.
  • The rule would limit air toxics emissions from area source gasoline distribution bulk terminals, bulk plants, pipeline facilities, and gasoline dispensing facilities (such as service stations, convenience stores, rental, and fleet gasoline tanks).
  • Area sources are those that have the potential to emit less than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or less than 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants. If sources emit more than these amounts, they are called "major" sources. In 1994, EPA issued final rules for the larger "major source" bulk terminals and pipeline facilities.
  • The Clean Air Act requires EPA to identify the toxic air pollutants that pose a health threat in the largest number of urban areas and to regulate sufficient area source categories to ensure that the emissions of these "urban" air toxics are reduced. Toxic air pollutants, or air toxics, are known or suspected to cause cancer and other health problems. EPA implements these requirements through its 1999 Integrated Urban Air Toxics Strategy (Strategy).
  • At gasoline distribution terminals and the smaller bulk plants, gasoline is stored and loaded into trucks for delivery to gasoline stations. Pipeline facilities pump gasoline along the pipeline, sometimes temporarily storing it until it is re-injected into the pipeline for distribution to gasoline terminals. Today's proposal covers all smaller facilities nationwide.
  • Gasoline dispensing facilities are covered by today's proposal in just urban areas. The proposal requires control of the loading of the storage tank only. Vehicle refueling emissions are controlled under a separate air toxic national standard.
  • Today's action proposes two alternatives. The first alternative proposes controls only on the bulk gasoline distribution facilities (terminals and bulk plants, and pipeline facilities). The second alternative proposes controls at the gasoline service stations in urban areas as well as area source bulk gasoline distribution facilities nationwide.
  • The first alternative would require the following for bulk distribution facilities:
    • Best seals on storage tanks at terminals and pipeline facilities;
    • Use of submerged fill pipes when loading storage tanks at bulk plants;
    • Vapor processors to control tank truck loadings at bulk terminals;
    • Use of submerged fill pipes to control tank truck loading emissions at bulk plants;
    • Leak testing of tank trucks and railcars; and
    • Checking for leaks and using good housekeeping procedures to prevent evaporation of gasoline.
  • We are also taking comment on a control option that requires the installation of the best seals on storage tanks at terminals and pipeline facilities and installation of vapor processors to control tank truck loadings at bulk terminals.
  • Under the second alternative, the proposal would also require use of submerged fill pipes when loading storage tanks at service stations.
  • EPA also requests comment on the need for additional controls, called vapor balancing, at gasoline service stations in more populated urban areas.
  • EPA will take public comment on this proposed action for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. The Agency will hold a public hearing if requested to do so.

BENEFITS AND COST (range in estimates represents the two proposed alternatives)

  • Most facilities already comply with this proposal. We estimate about 3,000-5,000 facilities will need additional controls.
  • The proposed standards will annually reduce 45,000-46,000 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in gasoline vapors. That VOC reduction includes 3,300-3,400 tons of hazardous air pollutants, which includes 120-125 tons of benzene. This represents about a 9-10 percent reduction of emissions from this source category.
  • The proposed standards would cost $60-65 million in capital at mostly large bulk facilities. There would be an annual benefit of about $6 million for either of the proposed alternatives. The value of the recovered gasoline and gasoline not allowed to evaporate will more than pay for the annual cost of the capital expenditures and the operation and maintenance of the equipment.


  • The CAA requires EPA to regulate sources of 187 listed toxic air pollutants. The CAA also requires EPA to identify industrial or "source" categories that emit one or more of these pollutants.
  • For major sources within each source category, the CAA required EPA to develop standards that restrict emissions to levels consistent with the lowest-emitting (also called best-performing) plants. Major sources are those that emit 10 tons a year or more of a single toxic air pollutant or 25 tons a year or more of a combination of air toxics. Facilities emitting below the major source threshold are considered "area sources."
  • The CAA further required EPA to develop a strategy to identify and reduce emissions of these toxic air pollutants in urban areas. To meet that requirement, EPA published the Strategy on July 19, 1999, in the Federal Register.
  • As part of the Strategy, EPA identified a list of the 33 air toxics that present the greatest threat to public health in the largest number of urban areas (see attached table for list of urban air toxics). Of these 33 urban air toxics, EPA has identified the 30 with the greatest contribution from smaller commercial and industrial operations or "area" sources, as defined in the CAA.
  • In the Strategy published July 19, 1999, EPA also identified 29 area source categories that contribute to the emissions of these 33 listed air toxics. Gasoline distribution (Stage I) was one of the area source categories listed in the Strategy. Subsequent notices published on June 26 and November 22, 2002, added 41 source categories to the list of area sources.
  • EPA is proposing this rule today, as agreed upon with the Sierra Club, and will take final action by December 20, 2007.


  • Interested parties can download the notice from EPA's website on the Internet under recently signed rules at the following address: www3.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/ramain.html.
  • Today's proposed action and other background information are also available electronically at www.regulations.gov, EPA's electronic public docket and comment system.
  • Today's proposed action and other background information are also available at the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC) Public Reading Room. However, due to recent flooding, the center is currently under construction, and public access will be limited until November 6, 2006. Please visit the following website frequently (http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm) in order to receive the latest status concerning access to the Public Reading Room and access to docket materials during the construction period. Please call (202) 566–1744 between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time for more information.
  • HOW TO COMMENT: Comments will be accepted for 60 days beginning when this proposal is published in the Federal Register. All comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0406 and submitted by one of the following methods:
    • www.regulations.gov;
    • E-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov);
    • Facsimile (202) 566-1741 (temporarily out of service);
    • Mail (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460); or
    • Hand delivery (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room B-102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).
  • For additional information, visit the EPA's website at: www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/gasdist/gasdispg.html, or contact Stephen A. Shedd of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at (919) 541-5397 or by e-mail at shedd.steve@epa.gov.

top of page

Jump to main content.