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PR CLEAN FUEL PROGRAM STARTS NEW YEAR'S DAY IN SMOGGIEST CITI

Release Date: 12/2/94
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PR CLEAN FUEL PROGRAM STARTS NEW YEAR'S DAY IN SMOGGIEST CITI

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1994

CLEAN FUEL PROGRAM STARTS NEW YEAR'S DAY
IN SMOGGIEST CITIES

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner today said that the 100 million Americans still breathing unhealthful, polluted air in many major metropolitan areas across the country will be helped by new, cleaner gasoline that becomes available for use on Jan. l, l995. The cleaner fuel will begin reaching many pumps this month. The new gasoline was developed in cooperation with the petroleum industry, the auto industry, state governments, environmentalists, and others. Browner was joined at her press conference today by many representatives from those groups.

Browner said, "The new cleaner gas is the most important environmental fuel program since lead was banned from gasoline. It is proof that by working together and achieving a consensus, we can all take important steps forward to clean up smog and toxics like benzene from our air and protect public health in a cost-effective, common-sense manner."

The new, reformulated fuel is conventional gasoline with extra oxygen added to produce a blend that burns more cleanly with less evaporation. It will reduce ozone (smog)-forming compounds and toxic chemicals such as benzene in fuel by l5 to l7 percent. In its first year, the new, cleaner fuel will reduce smog producing emissions by 305,000 tons, which is the equivalent of removing 8.1 million cars from U.S. roads. Nearly 1.3 million tons of smog-producing emissions will be removed from the air in the first five years. By the year 2000, reformulated gasoline will reduce toxic emissions by 20 to 22 percent and nitrogen oxides by five to seven percent.

EPA said vehicle emissions are estimated to be responsible for at least half of all toxic air pollution. Nationally, they also contribute 36 percent of the volatile organic compounds in the air and about 45 percent of nitrogen oxides, the two primary pollutants that form urban ozone, or smog. Ozone is a severe irritant that damages lung tissue and aggravates respiratory diseases. Exposure to elevated levels may cause permanent lung damage. Toxic air pollutants are associated with elevated risk of cancer.

The Clean Air Act requires reformulated gasoline in the nine areas with the highest levels of ozone. The law also provides that other areas that exceed the ozone air quality standard may "opt into" the program. If all eligible areas join the program, reformulated gasoline would account for about 35 percent of U.S. gasoline sales. In addition to the nine highlevel ozone areas where the fuel will be required in 14 states and the District of Columbia, other areas are included in the program. (See attached list.)

The price of the cleaner fuel will be only about $20 per year per family. Mary Nichols, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, said, "Cleaner gasoline will pay big dividends -- cleaner air and better

health for millions of Americans."

Reformulated gasoline will have no adverse effect on car performance or engine durability. Any effect on gas mileage will be minimal. Studies by EPA show the vapors given off by cleaner gasoline at the pump are no more noxious than the previous gasoline formula. If you travel outside of a geographical area using reformulated gas, you can fill up your car with the older gas with no effect on engine or driving.

"Every time you fill up your car with the new, cleaner gasoline blend," said Browner, "you'll be making an extremely cost-effective contribution to cleaner air."

In recent years, cleaner fuels have played a dramatic role in cleaning the air. Since lead was phased out beginning in the mid-80s lead levels in the ambient air have fallen by 90 percent and lead levels in children are down by 75 percent. In the 90s, special fuels were used in areas with severe wintertime carbon monoxide problems, and health-standard violations for the targeted pollutant fell by almost 80 percent.

EPA is carefully monitoring the supply and does not expect any shortages.

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