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Bill to Stop the Use of Summer Special-Blended Gasoline

March 18, 2014- Don Rooney
HARRISBURG- A state Senate Committee has approved and sent to the floor a bill designed to help ease the pain this summer when some Pennsylvanians go to the gas pump. 

Senator Solobay says Senate Bill 1037, which was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now heads to the floor for a vote of the full Senate, would amend the Air Pollution Control Act to eliminate requirements for low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline (Summer Gas) in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties.

In 1998, the Department of Environmental Protection adopted a strict (7.8psi) RVP fuel standard for southwestern Pennsylvania to meet federal air pollution control measures. This exclusive fuel mandate for southwestern Pennsylvania has led to higher gas prices, averaging 10 to 15 cents higher in western Pennsylvania than in neighboring counties and also across the border in Ohio. In Pennsylvania, this "summer" fuel is only required for the Pittsburgh region and some areas in and around Philadelphia, and demand for the product is low. This becomes a hidden tax drivers must pay that is not required anywhere else.

Senator Solobay says since the 1998 mandate, cars have become more fuel-efficient with better vapor-capturing systems that reduce the need for the specially-blended gas. Also, the federal government mandated that ethanol be added to gasoline, increasing the RVP value of fuel. 

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