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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Air Actions, Arizona

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Cleaner Burning Gasoline - Fact Sheet

January 23, 1998

Today's Action

  • EPA has approved a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Arizona on September 15, 1997, establishing Cleaner Burning Gasoline (CBG) fuel requirements for gasoline distributed in the Phoenix area (Maricopa County). Under the program, from June 1, 1998 to September 30, 1998, gasoline sold in Maricopa County must meet standards similar to EPA's Phase I Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program or California's Phase II RFG program. Beginning May 1, 1999, gasoline in Maricopa County must meet standards similar to EPA's Phase II RFG or California's Phase II RFG.
  • EPA proposed approval of the CBG rule on November 14, 1997 and received four comments. Every commenter supported approval of the SIP revision. Therefore, EPA is approving the rule as proposed.
  • Cars and other gasoline-powered motor vehicles cause about 50% of the Valley's smog. The proposed State fuel program will mean cleaner air for the Phoenix area by reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particulates, and airborne toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.


  • The Phoenix area is currently a serious nonattainment area for ground-level nozone (smog), carbon monoxide and particulates. The fact that health-based national air quality standards have not been met means that ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate levels remain a threat to public health in the Phoenix area.
  • The State and the local community have worked hard to improve Phoenix's air quality. The area has a number of innovative programs including the country's leading vehicle emissions inspection program, a new voluntary lawnmower replacement program, new stringent limits on industrial solvents that will begin in 1998, an employer trip reduction program, many transportation control measures, and numerous stationary and area VOC controls. A key component of the air quality program in 1997 was the federal reformulated gasoline program. This program will be replaced by an even cleaner gasoline program for 1998 and later years.
  • Several of the air quality programs are the result of recommendations by the Arizona Air Quality Task Force. The task force was appointed by the Governor in May of 1996 to come up with specific recommendations for reducing ozone, carbon monoxide and particulates in the greater Phoenix area. A Fuels Subcommittee to the Task Force recommended that the State join the federal Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program and then adopt a more stringent program.
  • On January 17, 1997, the Governor of Arizona requested EPA to include the Phoenix area in the federal RFG program. After an extensive public outreach and comment process, EPA approved the Governor's request to join the federal RFG program on June 3, 1997.
  • The State also enacted a bill authorizing the establishment of a more stringent State reformulated gasoline program. The bill was passed as an emergency measure, requiring the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures (ADWM) to adopt interim rules reflecting the fuel requirements included in the bill. ADEQ adopted these rules after incorporation of public comments on September 12, 1997. The resulting SIP revision was submitted EPA on September 15, 1997.

Further Information

  • EPA's Office of Mobile Sources will soon publish a notice to announce the approval and effective date for the Phoenix area to opt out of the federal RFG program.
  • For more information, please call Karina O'Connor, Air Planning Office, Air Division, U.S. EPA Region 9 at (415) 744-1253 or Colleen McKaughan, Associate Director, Air Division, U.S. EPA Region 9 at (415) 744-1247.

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