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A Thesis submitted for Honors in History
Benjamin John Passavant
April 1, 2007 Albion College
Chapter One: Historical Prelude
The story of the public policy debate over refueling emissions has its origins in the 1950’s. When the Second World War ended in 1945, thousands of soldiers went on the long-awaited voyage home. These returning veterans required employment to earn a living, and that meant by extension that many of them needed an automobile in order to commute to their new place of business. With contracts to build jeeps and tanks fast expiring, American motor vehicle companies such as Ford and GM were happy to supply the growing civilian demand, and soon automobiles were crowding the nation’s roadways. With the growing need for access to places of business came the need for newer and better roads. In fact, the need for better transportation within the interior of the United States had military as well as domestic aspects. Domestic transportation had been a major logistical issue for the United States during the war, and with the Cold War already commenced and thousands of Americans stationed on the Korean peninsula, there was every incentive for the United States to correct this perceived weakness. As a result, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former general with plenty of military experience, “was highly pleased” to sign the Federal-Aid Highway Act on June 29, 1956.1 Eisenhower had first encountered the poor state of the nations highways in 1919, when he participated in the U.S. Army's first transcontinental motor convoy from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. The convoy experienced first hand all the perils that civilian motorists were already aware of: bumpy roads caused mechanical problems, cars got stuck in mud or sand, and obstacles such as fallen trees often blocked roadways.2
Eisenhower had received another lesson on the value of highways during World War Two, when Germany’s famous Autobahn system enabled the allies to quickly move military convoys through enemy territory. “The old convoy had started me thinking about good, two-lane highways, but Germany had made me see the wisdom of broader ribbons across the land,” Eisenhower wrote in his autobiography.3 The Federal-Aid Highway Act expanded the nation’s inter-state highway system by 65,000 kilometers, and soon new highways began to knife through the country.4 Millions of Americans found themselves woven together by these massive roadways, and as transportation improved so did commerce and internal communications within the United States. Yet these improvements came at a cost. As the new highways began to link with major cities many urban communities were bisected by the massive concrete structures, and as cars from the suburbs began to flood in and out of the cities, automobile pollution became an even greater problem for urban residents.5 The United States was not oblivious to the dangers posed by pollution from motor vehicles, and in 1963 Congress passed the original Clean Air Act to research methods to reduce vehicle emissions.6 Yet throughout the 1960’s events occurred that dramatically awakened the nation’s environmental conscience. First and foremost among these was the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in 1962. Combining her formidable talent as an author with her professional studies in ecology, Carson’s classic book did for the environmental movement what Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for abolitionism. The book, now considered among the most influential of the twentieth century, illustrated in startling terms the danger that lethal pesticides like DDT posed to non-target organisms. “We are engaged in a war against nature that will inevitably
destroy us as well as our supposed enemies” Carson wrote to the generation of Americans that had fought in World War Two and Korea.7 Even as Silent Spring sparked national concern and controversy, further events heightened public alarm about the environment. In 1963 the Eastern Peregrine Falcon went extinct due to DDT poisoning, and Lake Erie was declared “biologically dead”. A large oil tanker spilled off the shores of Santa Barbara, leaving the public with images of beaches and sea birds coated in oil.8 Then in June of 1969 the Cuyahoga River, drenched in spilled oil and covered with floating debris, caught fire, sending flames shooting above the heads of Cleveland residents. Although grassroots concern about the environment was substantial, politicians in Washington refused to make the environment a priority. Then the first Earth Day, coordinated by Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, took place on April 22, 1970. Nelson, himself a part of the growing environmental movement, organized Earth Day as an environmental protest modeled on similar protests already being held against the Vietnam War. However, Senator Nelson never anticipated the massive response the first Earth Day received: twenty million Americans, 10 percent of the total population of the United States, took part in the event.9 This unprecedented display of public support was too large for Washington to ignore, and Congress responded by passing the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, which set NAAQS (national ambient air quality standards) for the first time on a national level. To enforce this and other environmental acts President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency on December 2, 1970.10
To run the new Environmental Protection Agency Nixon appointed William D. Ruckelshaus as the first head of the EPA.11 Although an experienced Administrator, Ruckelshaus must have been daunted by the challenges facing EPA. To regulate land, air and water pollution the EPA had a small, diverse staff of only 5,000 employees pulled together from the various government agencies previously responsible for environmental protection.12 With this small staff and a limited budget the EPA would have to take on powerful industrial sectors such as the automobile industry, chemical manufacturers, gasoline refineries, and numerous other corporate titans, none of which would gladly submit to losing profits because of EPA regulations. The new Clean Air Act took dead aim at America’s biggest source of air pollution: vehicle emissions. The law set statutory deadlines for reducing automobile emission levels: “90 percent reductions in hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide levels by 1975 and a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides by 1976.”13 To achieve this and other clean air goals new standards were promulgated throughout 1971, and state governments passed plans designed to comply with the new NAAQS standards.14 New emissions control technologies, such as carbon canisters that captured gasoline vapor released from fuel tanks, were also pioneered. These canisters are still in use today. More major automobile regulations were achieved in 1973, including auto maintenance regulations, transportation controls in urban areas, and the application of catalytic converters. A new program designed to phase out lead use in gasoline was finalized on November 28, 1973.15 Having established basic clean air standards and taken measures to promote public health and control in-use automobile emissions, EPA headquarters first examined
the issue of reducing refueling emissions on November 6, 1973.16 Having accomplished so much in only a few short years, EPA officials were understandably optimistic about their ability to resolve conflicting views of the matter. In fact, one promising control technology, called Stage II, was already being used in California, and the state quickly forwarded an endorsement of this technology to EPA. This endorsement, accompanied by data acquired from direct use by consumers, must have seemed persuasive. Flushed by their long string of unprecedented successes and encouraged by the existence of feasible and well-tested control technology, few employees of the EPA would have believed in November 1973 that automobile refueling emissions would not be passed until April 6, 1994.17 The automobile refueling emissions project would prove very different from the EPA’s previous endeavors. Whereas earlier public policy controversies could only place the economic burden of pollution control on one party or on several possible parties, among which one would always be less politically influential, the refueling emissions controversy pit the two largest industrial sectors in the United States, the oil and automobile industries, against each other in a battle to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in added pollution control costs. The result was a 21 year political and scientific debate in which the highest levels of every branch of the United States government would become participants. Due to the high stakes at risk in the refueling emissions controversy, both the automobile and oil industries would use every method available to them to ensure that the cost of emissions control was placed on the other industry. Any history of the automobile refueling emissions controversy is, therefore, not only an examination of the arguments
and interest groups that composed the public policy debate. It is also a real-world exploration of the ability of big industries to influence public policy decisions made by our democratic government. The implications of that capacity are vast, and pose a serious challenge to the ability of government agencies to steer national policies in wise directions. In the case of the automobile refueling emissions controversy, the public policy debate would be prolonged for 21 years until the automobile industry, suffering from a hostile court decision and a Democratic administration that regarded them warily, would finally accept the costs of installing onboard technology. The environmental and health benefits of this concession for the United States is a subject still being explored by the formulators of environmental public policy.
1. Federal Highway Administration, “Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating the Interstate System.” http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/summer96/p96su10.htm. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Divided Highways. Allen Moore and George Guidall. 85 minutes. Princeton: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2004, documentary. 6. Environmental protection Agency, “Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act.” http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/peg_caa/pegcaain.html. 7. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 5-13. 8. Gaylord Nelson, Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002) 6. 9. Environmental Protection Agency, “The Birth of EPA.” http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/epa/15c.htm. 10. Ibid 11. Environmental Protection Agency, “Building an Agency.” http://www.epa.gov/history/publications/formative3.htm. 12. Ibid 13. Environmental Protection Agency, “The Birth of EPA.” http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/epa/15c.htm. 14. Environmental Protection Agency, “Timeline, 1970’s.” http://www.epa.gov/history/timeline/70.htm. 15. Environmental Protection Agency, “EPA Requires Phase-Out of Lead in All Grades of Gasoline.” http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/lead/03.htm. 16. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1985), 42. 17. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 1.
Chapter Two: Overview of Refueling Emissions
In order to understand the many facets of the refueling emissions control controversy, some background knowledge is required. This includes a basic understanding of how and why refueling emissions occur and the harmful effects these emissions have on human health and the environment. This chapter provides background information in a succinct and uncomplicated manner. The references evaluated in its preparation contain much more detailed information. Vehicle refueling emissions are those gaseous hydrocarbon emissions released to the atmosphere in the course of refueling a gasoline-powered automobile, light truck, or heavy-duty vehicle. These are commonly referred to as Stage II emissions, whereas emissions related to delivery of gasoline to the service station underground storage tank are referred to as Stage I emissions. According to AP-42, EPA’s standard reference on emission factors, refueling emissions are comprised of three basic parts.1 In order of relative magnitude these include vehicle fuel tank displacement losses, underground storage tank (UST) vent emissions, and spillage. Displacement losses are those gasoline vapors in the vehicle fuel tank which are displaced to the atmosphere when gasoline is dispensed into the tank from the service station pump. UST vent emissions are those gasoline vapors displaced from the UST through an aboveground vent pipe. These emissions occur intermittently and
sporadically throughout a 24-hour day depending on factors such as the UST volume, service gasoline volume throughput, the gasoline vapor pressure, and the magnitude of the daily temperature and pressure swings.2 Spillage emissions are due to evaporation of gasoline spilled by the operator in the course of the refueling event (pumping gas) and includes that which occurs during nozzle handling and fuel spit back after automatic nozzle shut-off. 3 As part of the overall characterization of the problem, the chemical nature of the hydrocarbon species in refueling emissions has been studied carefully. Not surprisingly, the gasoline vapor released to the atmosphere during refueling looks very much like gasoline itself. However, in the case of displacement and vent loss emissions, these are dominated by evaporation so the vapor pressure of the various hydrocarbon compounds in the gasoline is important. A study conducted by General Motors showed that fuel tank displacement emissions are dominantly butane and pentane.4 These constituents are significant because they evaporate readily during refueling. Similarly, work done by the County of Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District indicates that the chemical species in UST vent loss emissions are very similar to those in displaced vapor.5 Spillage is whole gasoline and since spilled gasoline evaporates completely, spillage emissions have the identical chemical profile as the gasoline itself. Refueling emissions are a public health concern for two reasons. First, the hydrocarbon species in refueling are highly reactive in the formation of lower tropospheric ozone (sometimes known as smog) which is a significant respiratory irritant.6 There is a National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 0.12 ppm for ozone. In addition there are two concerns related to cancer causing compounds. First, gasoline
vapor contains small amounts of benzene, a known human carcinogen.7 Second, animal studies indicate that wholly volatilized gasoline causes mice and rat tumors which is suggestive of problems for human beings exposed to gasoline vapor such as self-serve refuelers and service station attendants.8 Essentially all gasoline dispensing pumps now have a label warning the user of these concerns. Following substantial work in the 1960’s to characterize and measure carburetor and vehicle fuel tank diurnal venting emissions, interest within the scientific community, automobile manufacturers and gasoline marketing interests shifted to refueling emissions.9 Between 1970 and 2000, there were no less than 11 separate studies conducted to measure and characterize the amount of hydrocarbon emissions released to the atmosphere for each gallon of gasoline dispensed into the vehicle.10 These various studies measured the refueling emission rate (grams hydrocarbon emissions/gallon of fuel dispensed). Depending on the study’s focus, the key fuel quality, vehicle, and/or dispensing-related factors which cause the uncontrolled emission rate to vary from refueling event to refueling event were also identified and characterized. First, with regard to fuel quality factors, essentially all of the studies listed above indicated that the dominant factor which controlled the mass of refueling emissions was the vapor pressure (usually expressed as Reid vapor pressure [RVP] in pounds per square inch [psi]) of the gasoline being dispensed into the fuel tank fuel. The higher the RVP of the gasoline being dispensed the greater the mass of refueling emissions. At the time these studies were being done, gasoline RVPs varied from 9.0-15.0 psi depending on geographic region of the United States and season of the year.11 However, Federal environmental regulation mandated a cap on these values, especially in the summer
months to reduce evaporative hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles.12 This cap, which was enacted in the Summer of 1989, varies by state and ranges between 9-10.5 psi. Other gasoline fuel properties such as grade (regular, mid-grade, or premium) are not significant since gasoline grade differences mostly reflect different amounts of fuel aromatics (benzene, toluene, xylene) which do not evaporate as readily as the lighter molecular weight components such as butane and pentane which contribute greatly to vapor pressure.13 One interesting study conducted by EPA’s Office of Research and Development evaluated the effect of alcohol and oxygenate blends (such as ethanol blended into gasoline) on the uncontrolled refueling emission rate.14 This study indicated no significant increase in refueling emissions for a 10 percent ethanol blend compared to unmixed gasoline. The blending of ethanol into the gasoline caused an RVP increase of about five percent. Second, there are some minor effects on the uncontrolled refueling emission rate due to differences in vehicle fuel system designs. Fuel system design with larger fill heights (fill neck height above the tank), long and irregular fill pipes, and irregular tank geometries, all have tended to increase the uncontrolled refueling emission rate. These features all increase internal fuel splashing during the refueling event creating droplets which become entrained in the escaping gasoline vapor during refueling. Droplets created during splashing which remain entrained in the escaping vapor are measured as refueling emissions. So, for example, a side-fill SUV with a relatively long fill pipe is likely to have a greater refueling emission rate than a compact passenger car. 15
Another meaningful variable related to the vehicle is related to the properties of the gasoline in the vehicle’s tank at time of the refueling event. Studies indicate that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank and its vapor pressure are both important.16 The temperature of the gasoline in the tank is affected by the type of fuel system (carbureted versus fuel injected), the ambient temperature, the length of time the vehicle was driven before refueling, and the amount of gasoline in the tank. The vapor pressure of the gasoline in the tank is directly related to its initial vapor pressure, the amount of gasoline used in driving, and the number of days since the last refueling.17 The warmer the fuel, the higher the RVP, and the greater emissions produced. Third, several studies evaluated the effect of dispensing–related variables on the refueling emission rate. Virtually every study among those listed above indicated that dispensed gasoline temperature was a very significant factor. Higher dispensed gasoline temperatures cause higher refueling emission rates. This is explained simply by the well established relationship between gasoline evaporation and temperature. Most gasoline is dispensed from USTs, so there is a strong correlation between dispensed gasoline temperatures and the temperature of the gasoline in the UST.18 Beyond this, one of the earlier more comprehensive studies evaluated some of the other more common variables seen during refueling events. With regard to the amount of gasoline dispensed per visit, this study showed that the greater the volume of gasoline dispensed per event, the greater the refueling emission rate.19 As the amount of gasoline dispensed increases relative to the total tank capacity, the more the refueling emission rate is governed by the properties of the gasoline being dispensed. Thus, key factors such as vapor pressure and dispensed gasoline temperature dominate. One study indicated that
the average refueling event involved dispensing of about ten gallons, that about 69 percent of refueling events were fill-ups, and 77 percent of all gasoline dispensed nationwide was dispensed in fill-ups.20 Also, while not a major effect, the comprehensive study mentioned above showed a positive correlation between increasing refueling emission rate and increasing gasoline dispensing rate (e.g., gallons per minute).21 This is undoubtedly due to increased fuel splashing in the fill neck and upon entrance to the fuel tank and the subsequent entrainment of gasoline droplets in the escaping vapor.22 Finally, this same study evaluated the effect of the angle of the gasoline nozzle in the fill neck on the refueling emission rate. This showed a small positive relationship between angles away from normal vertical and increased emissions. Once again, this was related to fuel splashing against the walls of the fill neck.23 In conclusion, several of the larger studies statistically evaluated all of the variables they considered in their different experiments and derived an overall mathematical equation from which refueling emission rates could be calculated. Not all studies evaluated each of the variables discussed above, but each reached the same conclusion; there were only three significant variables that had to be considered. These were the RVP of the dispensed gasoline, the temperature of the dispensed gasoline, and the temperature of the gasoline in the vehicle tank.24 Each of the more comprehensive reports expressed these relationships in different mathematical equations.25 This report elects to use that developed by EPA, because it was applied by EPA in its rulemaking decisions, and other documents provide nationwide estimates of the values of the key parameters needed to calculate the nationwide refueling emission inventory.26 The EPA equation is provided below:
gm/gal = -5.909-0.0940 [ΔT] +0.0884[Td] +0.485[RVP] where; gm/gal = the emission rate in grams of hydrocarbon per gallon of fuel dispensed ΔT = the difference between the temperature of the gasoline (Tt) in the fuel tank and that dispensed (Td); both in °F Td = the temperature of the dispensed gasoline in °F RVP = the Reid vapor pressure of the dispensed gasoline The second component of refueling emissions is more related to the service station. Stage II vent losses are hydrocarbon emissions released from gasoline USTs during the course of the day. In a normal refueling event gasoline is pumped from the UST into the vehicle tank and outside air is drawn into the UST through an external vent pipe to take the place of the gasoline which was dispensed. Gasoline in the UST then evaporates into the air until new gasoline vapor equilibrium is reached in the UST.27 Sometimes, gasoline vapor in the UST is emitted to the atmosphere through the same vent pipe during this process. EPA’s AP-42 document estimates these to be about 0.45 grams per gallon of gasoline dispensed.28 As will be discussed below, this type of refueling emissions came into play in EPA’s rulemaking decision because pump-base Stage II vapor recovery systems controls were believed to suppress this loss to the atmosphere because they returned vapor to the UST thus eliminating the need to draw in as much outside air.29 Vehicle based controls would not suppress this evaporation and in some cases it was claimed that they could reduce the positive effect of the pump-based controls since vapor would not be returned to the UST.30 The third and final component of refueling emissions is the small amount of gasoline spillage which is common during vehicle refueling. Based on a comprehensive study conducted in the early 1970’s, EPA’s AP-42 document estimates the emission rate related to gasoline spillage to be about 0.32 grams per gallon of gasoline dispensed.31 15
This involves both vehicle design and human factors. Another later comprehensive field study indicated values of 0.14 g/gal for conventional gasoline nozzles and 0.23 g/gal for Stage II vapor recovery nozzles.32 This became an important consideration in EPA’s decision because EPA’s test procedure for certifying vehicles using ORVR would force elimination of gas tank designs prone to spillage.33 Spillage of gasoline during the refill required in the test would be likely to result in a failure of the refueling emission standard.34 Also, the second study indicated a small difference in gasoline spillage emission rates for Stage II controls versus onboard controls. Based on the information presented above, we turn now to a discussion of the national refueling emissions inventory. The overall inventory (estimate of emissions) varies year-to-year based on the amount of gasoline dispensed, the fuel vapor pressure (RVP), and the characteristics of the vehicle fleet. This paper references the refueling emissions inventory for 1982 since that was the year used by EPA in its original publication which proposed onboard refueling emissions control.35 The calculation presented by EPA is quite straightforward. Using the EPA equation above, with an RVP value of 12.6 psi, a ΔT of 4.4 F°, and Td value of 68.9 °F gives a displacement refueling emission rate of 5.88 g/gallon of gasoline dispensed.36 Defaulting to the AP-42 values of 0.45 g/gal and 0.32 g/gal for UST vent losses and spillage, respectively, gives a total overall national emission factor of 6.65 g/gal. Using 1982 highway gasoline consumption of 100 billion gallons, EPA estimated 1982 refueling emissions to be 625,000 tons per year.37 Putting these numbers in perspective is useful. Assuming a fleet average vehicle fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon in 1984, this equates to 0.33 grams of refueling
emissions per mile. The tailpipe emission standard in the mid-1980’s when EPA first conducted its national evaluation of service station versus vehicle based control of refueling emissions was 0.41 grams of hydrocarbon per mile for passenger cars.38 Obviously, refueling emissions were a significant source of air pollution.
1. Environmental Protection Agency, Compilation of Air Pollution Emission Factors (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1979), 5.2-15– 5.2-17. 2. Air Pollution Control District of Los Angeles County, Air Pollution from Filling Underground Storage Tanks (Los Angeles: Air Pollution Control District of Los Angeles, 1962). 3. Malcolm Smith, An Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1972), 8-9. 4. Robert Furey, B Nagel, Composition of Vapor Emitted from a Vehicle Gasoline Tank during Refueling (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986). 5. Air Pollution Control District of Los Angeles County, Air Pollution from Filling Underground Storage Tanks, 20. 6. Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31,165-31,168. 7. Daniel Raley, Analysis of Benzene Emissions from Vehicles and Vehicle Refueling (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1984), 8, Paul Laing, Factors Influencing Benzene Emissions from Passenger Car Refueling (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986). 8. G. Tironi, Measurement of Vapor Exposure During Gasoline Refueling (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1984), 8, Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis, Proposed Refueling Emission Regulations for Gasoline Fueled Motor Vehicles (Washington: GPO, 1987), H-1 – H-7, Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31,168-31170. 9. Coordinating Research Council, 1966 CRC Motor Vehicle Evaporation Loss Technique Evaporative Emissions (New York, New York: CRC, 1966), David Wade, Factors Influencing Vehicle Evaporative Emissions (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1967, Stuart Martens, Kelly Thurston, Measurement of Total Vehicle Evaporative Emissions (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1968), William Koehl, Mathematical Models for Prediction of Fuel Tank and Carburetor Evaporation Losses (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1969), American Petroleum Institute, Mathematical Expressions Relations Evaporative Emissions from Motor Vehicles to Gasoline Volatility (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute, 1971,). 10. Malcolm Smith, Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses (San Bernardino: Scott Research Labs, 1970), Malcolm Smith, Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses, Second Year Program (San Bernardino: Scott Research Labs, 1972), Malcolm Smith, Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses, Third Year Program (San Bernardino: Scott Research Labs,, 1975), Ed Liston, A Study of Variables that Effect the Amount of Vapor Emitted during the Refueling of Automobiles (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute, 1975), Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling
Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles (Washington: GPO, 1985), 85-86, James Braddock, Factors Influencing the Composition and Quantity of Passenger Car Refueling Emissions, Part I (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986), Paula Cingle, Dennis McClement, A Study of Uncontrolled Automotive Refueling Emissions (Atlanta: Coordinating Research Council, 1988), James Braddock, Factors Influencing the Composition and Quantity of Passenger Car Refueling Emissions, Part II (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986), Marek Lockhart, Predicting Tank Vapor Mass for Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1997), H. Masanori, et. al, R&D on New Generation Gasoline Fuel Technology for Improving the Environment (Japan: Petroleum Energy Center, 2000), Albert Hochhauser, An Experimental Study of Refueling Emissions (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1976). 11. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis Control of Gasoline Volatility and Evaporative Hydrocarbon Emissions from New Motor Vehicles (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 2-13 – 2-17. 12. Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1990), 23,658. 13. J.W. Shiller, Mathematical Prediction of Effect of Gasoline Composition on Reid Vapor Pressure, Refueling Emissions, and their Reactivity (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986), 10-12. 14. James Braddock, Passenger Car Refueling Emissions with Gasoline-Oxygenate Blended Fuels (Anaheim, CA: Air and Waste Management Association, 1989). 15. Paula Cingle, Dennis McClement, A Study of Uncontrolled Automotive Refueling Emissions, C-5. 16. Edward Liston, A Study of Variables that Effect the Amount of Vapor Emitted during the Refueling of Automobiles, 46-48. 17. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis Control of Gasoline Volatility and Evaporative Hydrocarbon Emissions from New Motor Vehicles, 2-71 – 2-79. 18. Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles, 59. 19. Edward Liston, A Study of Variables that Effect the Amount of Vapor Emitted during the Refueling of Automobiles, 29-35. 20. Mike Lombardo, Gesa Behrens, Survey of Vehicle Refueling (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1987). 21. Edward Liston, A Study of Variables that Effect the Amount of Vapor Emitted during the Refueling of Automobiles, 46. 22. Second Year Program, Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses, 3-14. 23. Edward Liston, A Study of Variables that Effect the Amount of Vapor Emitted during the Refueling of Automobiles, 4. 24. Paula Cingle, Dennis McClement, A Study of Uncontrolled Automotive Refueling Emissions, 5-16. 25. Third Year Program, Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses, i. 43. Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles, 52, Albert Hochhauser, An Experimental Study of Refueling Emissions, 6, Paula Cingle, Dennis McClement, A Study of Uncontrolled Automotive Refueling Emissions, 11, Paula Cingle, Dennis McClement, A Study of Uncontrolled Automotive Refueling Emissions, iv.
26. Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles, 48-49. 27. Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31,164, Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31,171. 28. Environmental Protection Agency, Compilation of Air Pollution Emission Factors, 5.2-15. 29. State of California Air Resources Board, A Report to the Legislature on Gasoline Vapor Recovery Systems for Vehicle Refueling at Service Station ( Sacramento, California: State of California, 1983), 9. 30. Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, An Analysis of Stage II and Onboard Refueling Emissions Control (Sacramento, California: Sierra Research inc, 1988), 31. 31. Environmental Protection Agency, Compilation of Air Pollution Emission Factors, 516. 32. American Petroleum Institute, A Survey and Analysis of Liquid Gasoline Released to the Environment during Vehicle Refueling at Service Stations (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute, 1989), ES-3. 33. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Recommended Test Procedure for the Measurement of Refueling Emissions (Ann Arbor Michigan: US Government, 1985). 34. Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles, 31. 35. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis, Proposed Refueling Emission Regulations for Gasoline Fueled Motor Vehicles, F14. 36. Environmental Protection Agency, Refueling Emissions from Uncontrolled Vehicles, 53. 37. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis, Proposed Refueling Emission Regulations for Gasoline Fueled Motor Vehicles, F18. 38. Malcolm Smith, An Investigation of Passenger Car Refueling Losses, 10.
Chapter Three: Methods Available for Control of Refueling Emissions
Throughout the decades-long controversy over how to control vehicle refueling emissions, two possible control technologies were under serious consideration. These technologies were commonly referred to as service station-based (i.e. pump-based) controls (Stage II) and control onboard the vehicle (onboard refueling vapor recovery – ORVR). Each of these basic approaches is discussed below. When EPA first began considering regulation to reduce refueling emissions, Stage II controls were the only option under serious consideration. This technology was developed in the late 1960s for application in California and by 1973 several of the areas in California with the worst smog problems required Stage II.1 The state program for California certification of the safety and efficiency of Stage II systems began in 1976 and widespread application of Stage II controls in California began in 1979.2 The initial Stage II technology was called the vapor balance system.3 This design applied a flexible rubber boot to the gas station service nozzle which was designed to fit tightly around the fill pipe opening, covering it completely. This trapped refueling displacement emissions escaping from the fill pipe during refueling. An illustration of a vapor balance nozzle is shown in Figure III-1.
Figure III-1: Stage II Balance System Vapor Recovery Nozzle Using the over pressure created in the vehicle fuel tank due to the fuel being dispensed into the tank at a greater rate than gasoline vapors could be displaced, the refueling vapors are then forced back into the service station underground storage tank (UST) through a separate rubber hose. The volume of the refueling vapors entering the UST replaces the volume of gasoline being pumped out into the vehicle. This is illustrated in Figure III-2.
Figure III-2: Schematic of Stage II Vapor Recovery
As was discussed in Chapter 2, it is hypothesized that pushing the refueling vapors back into the UST suppresses the generation of emptying loss emissions from the UST vent. Because this approach works on differential pressure between the vehicle fuel tank and the UST it is referred to as the balance system. It continues to push gasoline vapor into the UST until the pressure equilibrates between the vehicle tank and the UST. The addition of a larger nozzle body, the vapor recovery boot, and the vapor return hose increased the weight of the nozzle making it cumbersome for motorists to use effectively in achieving a tight seal at the vehicle fill pipe opening. Later versions of balance systems incorporated the coaxial hose design discussed below which reduced the weight by about five pounds. However, these designs were still 2-3 pounds heavier than conventional nozzles without Stage II vapor recovery.4 A second generation of Stage II vapor recovery technology, referred to as a vacuum assist system, was developed in the 1970s.5 Instead of relying on a pressure differential, this system captures refueling emissions from the vehicle fuel tank by applying a modest vacuum to the inside of the flexible boot using a pump installed inside the dispenser. As was the case with the balance system, it then routes the refueling vapors back into the service station UST through a separate rubber hose. Because this system relies on a vacuum rather than a pressure differential it does not require a tight fitting seal around the fill pipe to be effective. Because vacuum assist systems draw the refueling vapors plus excess air from around the nozzle spout into the UST, they do not suppress generation of emptying loss emissions from the UST, instead creating them by adding excess air into the UST. Also, these vacuum assist systems require some form of
secondary processing such as carbon adsorption, incineration, or condensation attached to the UST vent to eliminate these excess vapors. Somewhat related to the vacuum assist system was a third approach to Stage II control technology, known as the hybrid system.6 This system used a flexible boot, a separate vapor return hose from the nozzle, and a vacuum. However, instead of the vacuum being mechanically created by a pump, it is created by a significant modification to the gasoline dispenser. In this design, a small amount of the fuel being pumped to the vehicle (<10%) is routed through an aspirator installed inside the dispenser before being re-circulated back to the UST. As the gasoline goes through this aspirator a small vacuum is generated. This vacuum is applied at the boot/vehicle interface. Eventually a new generation of Stage II controls was developed in the late 1980s which potentially addressed many of the shortcomings of the earlier designs. This approach was called the bootless vapor recovery system.7 Its design was based on the vacuum assist concept with two important enhancements. First, it incorporated a coaxial hose design where the fuel was dispensed through the inner portion of the hose and the vapor was displaced to the UST through the outer portion of the hose. Second, it eliminated the flexible boot and redesigned the dispensing nozzle and spout. The nozzle spout has holes drilled into its outer surfaces and the vacuum is applied to the outer portion of the nozzle. The vacuum then draws air from the fill pipe through the holes in the outer surfaces of the nozzle spout and pulls it through the nozzle into the outer ring of the coaxial hose and into the UST. Once again, it is not believed that this approach would suppress the generation of UST vent emissions since the vacuum draws more air and vapor volume than volume of gasoline dispensed.
Stage II technology was developed jointly by the petroleum industry and the petroleum industry equipment suppliers. The state of California and its various Air Pollution Control Districts were instrumental in assisting in demonstrating the efficiency of the technology.8 When the refueling emission control controversy began in the 1970s, ORVR concept development was being sponsored by petroleum industry companies and early prototypes for evaluation were being built by these companies or their contractors.9 The auto industry developed no prototypes for consideration. As was the case with Stage II, ORVR went through several prototypes incorporating design improvements over a period of about 15 years.10 The dominant ORVR system approach achieved the same emission reduction goal as Stage II by modifying the design of the vehicle’s evaporative emission control system. A typical vehicle fuel tank/evaporative emission control system is shown in Figure III-3.
Figure III-3: Typical Vehicle Evaporative Emission Control System
The ORVR system involves three basic parts. The first is a fill pipe seal, either a mechanical seal or a liquid seal, to prevent vapors from escaping to the atmosphere in a refueling event as they do in an uncontrolled design. In a mechanical seal system the upper portion of the fill pipe is modified to include a flexible inner ring sized with an inner diameter such that a tight fit is formed between flexible inner ring and the nozzle spout. A liquid seal involves modifying the diameter or shape of the fill pipe in such a manner that the gasoline being dispensed fills the pipe during the refueling event and blocks the escape of vapors through the fill pipe. These vapors cannot be contained in the tank without creating an overpressure problem, but some pressure within the tank is needed for the automatic shutoff feature of the dispensing nozzle to work correctly when the tank is full. To get the correct pressure in the tank, a valve is added to the roof of the tank which allows the vapor to pass out of the tank while temporarily retaining enough pressure to allow the fill up event to occur as designed. The third basic portion of the ORVR system is vapor routing and storage. As the vapor leaves the tank it passes through a vent hose and is routed to a nylon canister which contains activated carbon. The refueling vapors are very efficiently captured within the activated carbon. Most designs combined the vent hose and activated carbon canister used on the vehicle since the early 1970s. This combined control of daily evaporative emissions from the fuel tank with the refueling control system into one overall integrated system. In both cases the vapor hose and carbon canister are slightly larger in diameter or volume than the normal carbon canister found in evaporative emissions controls. Finally, when the vehicle is in operation, vacuum from the engine is used to draw air through the canister, purging the vapors into the engine where they are burned as fuel. This also occurs with the
preexisting evaporative control system. Systems that use the same vapor vent hose, activated carbon canister, and purge line are known as integrated systems. In these integrated systems the activated carbon canister is often moved to the rear of the vehicle. Figure III-4 shows an integrated ORVR/evaporative system as described above.
Figure III-4: Illustration of Integrated ORVR/Evaporative System
The work conducted in preparing these prototypes involved much more than installing functioning refueling emissions control technology. In conducting these assessments the evaluators not only assessed refueling emissions control efficiency, but also evaluated the effect on exhaust emission levels, evaporative emission levels, and vehicle driveability on several different vapor pressure fuels.11 Since refueling emissions are mostly created when the vapor in the tank is displaced by the incoming fuel, several attempts were made to design approaches which would eliminate the space in which this vapor was created. Most notable were attempts by both the auto industry and EPA to develop workable collapsible fuel bladder prototypes. These bladders, perhaps shaped like a pillow, would be contained within the metal fuel tank. During use the top of the bladder would ride on to the fuel surface 27
eliminating the space in the tank where vapors are created. As fuel is drawn out from the gas tank the bladder would collapse. As fuel is dispensed from the gas pump during refueling the bladder would fill and expand. This approach had appeal from a safety perspective, as non-collapsible bladders had been used in race cars for decades. However, attempts to pursue this approach were abandoned early due to cost considerations and other problems the system would create for fuel system designers.12 EPA was not able to get significant reductions in emissions without a fill neck seal to eliminate air entrained by the inflowing fuel and even then the efficiencies never approached those achievable with the canister-based systems.13 The technological feasibility of implementing either Stage II or ORVR controls was never in question. By the time the ORVR concept came under consideration, Stage II controls were in place in California. Very early in the discussions about ORVR the auto industry acknowledged that ORVR was technologically feasible.14 However, as will be discussed in Chapter V, allegations about potential safety issues associated with ORVR became the preeminent technical issue with implementing ORVR. However, in a broader sense, the debate over which approach should be implemented involved different views and disagreements over the relative merits of each approach in a number of areas. Key among these were geographic scope of implementation, the rate of phase-in of control, the relative in-use effectiveness of each approach, and to a lesser degree the costs of control and impact on consumers. Each of these issues, as characterized in EPA’s 1984 Gasoline Marketing Study, is discussed below. First, due to the fact that compliance with the ozone NAAQS was only a problem in 151counties in 27 states, some, particularly lobbyists working for the automobile
industry, argued that Stage II was the preferable approach.15 From a geographic scope perspective, Stage II could be implemented in just those states/counties with ozone problems while ORVR by its nature would have to be applied to vehicles nationwide no matter where they were sold or used.16 Limited geographic implementation would not take into account ozone transport from one region to another nor would it limit exposure to gasoline vapor carcinogens for people outside of the areas where Stage II would be required. The second issue was related to the phase in of controls. Since Stage II was demonstrated technology and there were relatively few service stations it could be incorporated in 1-3 years and would potentially cover all vehicles when in place.17 Conversely, ORVR could only be implemented on new vehicles. From the earliest study of the concept EPA only considered ORVR for the new vehicle fleet; retrofitting the current vehicle fleet with ORVR was not possible.18 It would require three years of lead time before implementation on the first model year of vehicles and more than ten years before fleet turnover would lead to a large percentage of annual gasoline consumption being dispensed into ORVR-equipped vehicles.19 ORVR control would become more and more effective as the nation’s vehicle fleet turned over. A major point of contention was the expected in-use effectiveness of the two strategies. Stage II control system hardware required an efficiency of 95 percent to be certified for use by California, but these systems require maintenance to operate effectively.20 Surveys showed that in-use efficiency varied from 56-86 percent depending on the degree of enforcement of repair and maintenance by local jurisdictions.21 Studies also indicated that the aboveground portion of the Stage II system would need to be
replaced every 8-15 years depending on which Stage II approach was used.22 This would have cost $1600 per year per pump. A further issue with in-use effectiveness of Stage II was related to service station size exemptions. Under the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments, low monthly gasoline volume service stations such as private service stations used by centrally fueled fleets and small public service stations were not to be covered by Stage II due to the costs of compliance versus the relatively low monthly gasoline volumes.23 For ORVR there was no direct in-use experience. All prototypes discussed in endnotes 11-18 had demonstrated efficiencies in excess of 97 percent and inuse experience with similar vehicle evaporative control components indicated few problems.24 ORVR systems were designed to require no user involvement, no maintenance, and their performance would be warranted as part of new vehicle warranty coverage. EPA estimated ORVR in-use efficiency at 92 percent, when in-use deterioration and tampering by owners is included.25 What was open to debate was the scope of applicability of ORVR controls. All prototypes had been applied to passenger cars and, while it was reasonable to project that ORVR technology could be extrapolated to light trucks it was not necessarily presumed that it would be applied to heavy-duty gasoline vehicles, which use about five percent of gasoline.26 Costs of control and the cost effectiveness in terms of dollars per ton of emission reduction are always important considerations in decisions regarding environmental regulation. In this case neither strategy would carry a large cost to consumers. Ignoring vapor recovery credits, ORVR was estimated to cost $15 per vehicle while Stage II was estimated to cost the average user of 0.25-0.75 cents per gallon depending on whether size exemptions were included for the lower throughput stations.27 Stage II costs
accounted for capital costs for new nozzles, modified pumps, construction work at the station, taxes and interest charges. The cost of ORVR included expenses for a larger carbon canister, a larger carbon vent line, a spitback valve, rollover valve upgrades and the cost of assembly. In both cases, costs were partially offset by fuel vapor recovery credits. However, due to wide variety of implementation options and approaches the cost effectiveness would become a very important point of analysis bearing on the decision. It would be evaluated early and often in this debate. Combinations of these technologies, such ORVR plus limited Stage II and ORVR plus widespread Stage II were frequently considered as possibilities in addition to Stage II or ORVR alone. The idea of requiring Stage II controls only in areas of the country where ozone pollution was especially problematic was also seriously considered by EPA.28 These possibilities were examined because of cost considerations and the merits and drawbacks of the different control technologies. Finally, Stage II routed emissions to the service stations UST. During gasoline deliveries to the service station’s USTs refueling vapors captured by Stage II would either be vented into the air or collected on the delivery trucks in a process known as Stage I controls. These Stage I controls used two flexible pipes, both with one end connected to the gasoline delivery tanker and the other end of both pipes connected to the service station UST. When the truck dropped gasoline into the UST through one pipe, the refueling emissions would be forced out of the storage tank and into the other pipe leading up to the emptying fuel truck. The fuel truck would then deliver these captured vapors to the refinery, where the vapors were either burned or condensed for reuse.29 Not surprisingly, policy proposals that used Stage II controls were often accompanied by use
of Stage I.30 There is little purpose in spending money to re-direct gas vapors back into the service station tank if these vapors would simply escape into the atmosphere through the tanks aboveground vent pipe at a later time.
1. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450 (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1984). 2. California Air Resources Board, A Report to the Legislature on Gasoline Vapor Recovery Systems for Vehicle at Service Stations (Sacramento, CA: California State Government, 1983), 1. 3. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 3-15 – 317. 4. Multi-National Business Services, Cost and Cost-Effectiveness of Stage II and Onboard Refueling Vapor Controls (New Hampshire: Multinational Business Services, 1987), 3-14-3-16, Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, An Analysis of Stage II and Onboard Refueling Emissions Control (Sacramento, California: Sierra Research Inc, 1988), 18. 5. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 3-17 – 318. 6. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 3-19 – 320. 7. Motor Vehicle Manufacturer Association, An Analysis of Stage II and Onboard Refueling Emissions Control (Sacramento, California: Sierra Research Inc, 1988), 18. 8. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar (Anaheim, California: American Petroleum Institute, 1973). 9. American Petroleum Institute, Control of Refueling Emissions with an Activated Carbon Canister on the Vehicle – Performance and Cost Effectiveness Analyses (Anaheim, CA.: American Petroleum Institute, 1973). 10. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar (Anaheim, California: American Petroleum Institute, 1973), J. Gunderson, D. Lawrence, Control of Refueling Emissions with an Activated Carbon Canister on the Vehicle (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1975), American Petroleum Institute, Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions – Demonstration of Feasibility, 4306 (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute, 1978), American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Onboard Refueling Control (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute, 1986), H. Shannon, G. Musser, Onboard Control of Refueling Emissions (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986), WJ Koehl, DW Lloyd, LJ McCabe, Vehicle Onboard Control of Refueling Emissions – System Demonstration in 1985 Vehicles (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1986), Environmental Protection Agency, Application of Onboard Refueling Emission Control System to a 1988 Ford Taurus Vehicle, EPA-AA-SDSB-91-06 (Ann Arbor, MI: EPA, 1991), 91-106, G. Musser, H. Shannon, A. Hochhauser, Improved Design of Onboard Refueling Emissions (Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive
Engineers, 1990), Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of the Feasibility of Liquid Fillneck Seals, EPA-AA-SDSB-86-3 (Ann Arbor, MI: EPA, 1986). 11. American Petroleum Institute, Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions – Demonstration of Feasibility, 4306, 17-21, American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Onboard Refueling Control, 23-29. 12. American Petroleum Institute, Cost Effectiveness of Methods to Control Vehicle Refueling Emissions, API Project EF-14 (Washington D.C.: American Petroleum Institute. 1973) 33, 68-70, American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar, 78, General Motors Company, General Motors Commentary to EPA Relative to the Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions (Detroit, MI: General Motors Corporation, 1978), 22-23. 13. Environmental Protection Agency, meeting briefing: Briefing on Fuel Tank Bladders for Emissions Control and Evaporative Emissions Reduction, January 1989. 14. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar, 80, General Motors Company, General Motors Commentary to EPA Relative to the Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions, 22-23. 15. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 4-37. 16. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar, 80. 17. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 5-5. 18. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, C-68 – C-69, C-28 – C-29. 19. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, P5-5, R33 and C-37. 20. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 322. 21. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 3-25. 22. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 7-24. 23. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 1-9. 24. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, C-96 – C- 97. 25. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 1-26. 26. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, C-8 – C29. 27. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, C-22.
28. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 4-23 – 428. 29. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 3-11 – 314. 30. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry Gasoline Marketing Study, 450, 4-24 – 426.
Chapter IV: The Early Public Policy Phase, 1973-1984
The 1970 Clean Air Act set in place requirements for EPA and the states to reduce emissions as needed to meet the various National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This was the inception of real efforts to clean up the ambient air in the United States and there were many opportunities for progress and challenges along the way to force technology. Motor vehicles and gasoline marketing were two of the biggest sources of urban hydrocarbon emissions. On November 6, 1973, EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register describing Stage II control technology as one of several options under consideration for reducing automobile refueling emissions.1 The notice proceeded to describe Stage II technology as a cost-efficient method for state governments to use to reduce hydrocarbon emissions to levels required by the Clean Air Act of 1970.2 California had already passed rules implementing Stage II in San Diego and San Francisco and their approval was pending at EPA. 3 This apparently innocent notice effectively announced the EPA’s intent to pursue control of the refueling emissions and set into motion a public policy debate which would go on for more than 20 years. Reducing hydrocarbon emissions, which cause ground level smog, was already among the primary goals of the EPA in 1973. EPA had addressed automobile fuel tank and carburetor emissions with the implementation of the first generation of vehicle evaporative emission controls in 1971, and by controlling refueling emissions EPA hoped to further reduce hydrocarbon emissions.3 Given the rapid success with which EPA had
passed evaporative system requirements, it is likely that EPA’s administration was optimistic about its ability to implement refueling emission controls within a few years. The initial announcement of EPA’s intention to regulate refueling emissions met with a mixed reaction. State governments, public health interests and environmental groups supported the use of Stage II to reduce hydrocarbon emissions, while the oil industry, united under the API (American Petroleum Institute) sought to defeat the passage of Stage II controls in order to avoid having to pay for them. Public health and environmental groups supported the passage of refueling emissions controls, including use of Stage II technology, because the passage of such regulations would reduce groundlevel smog and do so relatively quickly. Reducing smog levels would benefit the environment by removing pollutants harmful to plants and animals from the air. Reductions in smog levels would also decrease instances of smog-induced human health problems, such as respiratory irritation and eye infections, especially in metropolitan areas with high population densities.4 State governments supported the passage of refueling emission controls for two reasons: first, the application of such control requirements would help individual states meet the requirements of the CAA, and avoid any penalties that might result from failing to meet those requirements. Second, passage of refueling emission requirements at the Federal level also carried political advantages: state politicians could take credit for improved air quality during reelection campaigns while simultaneously blaming EPA for the requirement whenever groups who opposed it complained. In response to the CAA requirements, some state governments pursued developing Stage II legislation for inclusion in their State programs to achieve the
NAAQS. Between November 6 and December 12, 1973, EPA approved air pollution control plans requiring Stage II use in part or all of eight states: California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia.5 EPA had estimated in its Nov 6, 1973 notice that Stage II controls could be 90 percent installed in service stations across most states within 39 months, and state governments, eager to meet CAA requirements, worked to achieve this goal.6 Meanwhile, the API was far from silent in its opposition to Stage II controls. API forwarded a study on the cost effectiveness of various methods of refueling emission control, including Stage II, to EPA in April 1973. This study, conducted by the Refinery Management Services Corporation, consisted only of pre-existing information, and included no new research on refueling emissions control technology.7 The study admitted that refueling emissions comprised “a significant percentage of vehicle oriented unburned hydrocarbon pollution” and went on to argue that ORVR controls would be more cost effective than Stage II. The study concluded that ORVR controls would, once installed in the nation’s car fleet over ten years, stop 87 percent of refueling emissions at a cost of 108 million dollars annually. Stage II was projected to prevent, after at two year installation period, 78 percent of hydrocarbon refueling emissions at a cost of 1.1-3.6 billion dollars.8 Given this cost-efficiency analysis, API urged EPA to choose the method of pollution prevention “most desirable for the public.”9 Although the numbers API presented would vary in the future, the main argument presented by this report, that ORVR controls were less costly and prevented more pollution, and therefore were a better choice than Stage II controls, would be repeated throughout the refueling emissions controversy.
Between November 1973 and October 1975 EPA gathered data on the automobile refueling emissions problem and re-examined compliance deadlines for those states that had already passed Stage II.10 Work on the refueling emissions issue progressed slowly during this time, at least in part because EPA was still a very young agency (between 3-5 years old) and was often distracted by projects with even larger environmental stakes. The gradual rate of progress on the refueling problem gave the oil industry opportunity to develop additional information related to refueling emissions, Stage II controls, and ORVR technology. Many of the principal works on refueling emissions and Stage II discussed in Chapters II and III were prepared in this time frame. API forwarded a study conducted by Olson Laboratories, Inc to EPA in October 1973. This study addressed many aspects on the design and cost of ORVR systems and concluded that ORVR controls would actually save consumers money by trapping $0.43 cents worth of gas vapor into a consumers car for every $0.36 worth of money the consumer spent to capture the hydrocarbons from refueling emissions.11 API would also meet with EPA, the CARB (California Air Resources Board) and numerous other concerned groups at a seminar in Anaheim, California on December 4-5, 1973. This meeting appeared to accomplish little except to bring the major parties with a stake in the refueling emissions issue together under one roof and to lay out issues and options for discussion and consideration.12 However, it had the added benefit of getting many corporate positions and subject matter experts on the record for the first time and documented some technical details and scientific insights which would be very useful in future deliberations.. The enormous amount of information sent by API to EPA had an impact on EPA’s analysis of the refueling emissions problem, and also slowed the process of
coming to a decision. For instance, on February 4, 1974 EPA delayed compliance deadlines for its nationwide Stage II plan “in response to comments that the schedules issued in the 1973 plans were unrealistically short.”13 However, API could not persuade EPA to risk using experimental ORVR technology, and it appeared that no number of new studies could delay EPA’s policy making processes perpetually. Oil interests were active on more than just the technological front. They also challenged the basic EPA requirement for Stage II as being vague in terms of its performance specifications, too ambitious in its timeline, and basically contended that the decision to require Stage II was premature and not well conceived. For all intents and purposes EPA conceded these points and on June 18, 1974 published a Federal Register notice reopening the issue for comment and further deliberation on issues related to Stage II technology, Stage II system performance requirements, alternatives to Stage II, and future timelines. The notice also further delayed the previously implemented regulatory timelines for starting Stage II construction in areas of the eight states mentioned above until May 1, 1975.14 On October 9, 1975, EPA proposed numerous amendments to its original 1973 plan to apply Stage II controls nationwide. These amendments lowered the 90 percent emissions control requirement for small gas dispensers, thereby making a nationwide Stage II plan more economical, and also outlined thoroughly the legal responsibilities that consumers and gas dispensers had under the proposed ruling.15 The amendments also required gas station owners to apply specific EPA certified systems in order to reach their emission control goal. This unusual measure was justified on the basis that the CAA of 1970 imposed a May 31, 1977 deadline for states to meet clear air requirements, and only
use of pre-tested systems could effectively guarantee that applied control technologies were effective in helping states to meet the ambient air quality standards.16 Furthermore, EPA officials observed that unless pre-approved technology was required it would be difficult to ensure that all applied emissions control technology was actually functional at any given time. EPA established a forty-five day comment period for the proposed amendments. This was later extended to December 29, 1975 due to the volume of responses received: over two-hundred detailed responses were issued by oil companies, gas marketers and service station owners alone.17 These letters supported the use of ORVR controls rather than applying Stage II technology nationwide, and the need to process enormous quantities of new feedback slowed EPA’s plan to process a nationwide Stage II ruling. Higher priority agenda items, such as unleaded gasoline and automobile catalysts, were also distracting EPA throughout 1976, as had often occurred in previous years.18 On November 1, 1976, EPA finally proposed new test procedures and requirements for Stage II compliance in the Federal Register. These new testing procedures modified the October 9, 1975 proposal in several key ways. First, in an effort to make refueling emissions control more economical, privately owned service stations that dispensed less than 120,000 gallons of gasoline per year were exempted from emissions requirements.19 Second, gas stations were no longer required to use only precertified technology in order to meet their emissions control requirement. This later change was brought about by the development of a short-test procedure by which government engineers could test any given Stage II emissions control technology for inuse effectiveness.
Compliance with the May 31, 1977 deadline for meeting the NAAQS set by the CAA of 1970 seemed to decrease in importance due to the looming possibility that amendments to the Clean Air Act were being considered by Congress. These amendments, if passed, would delay the NAAQS compliance dates and completely alter the dynamic of the refueling emissions issue by requiring EPA to examine the possibility of using ORVR controls in place of Stage II technology. Such a requirement would delay any EPA ruling on the subject of refueling emissions by forcing the agency to thoroughly explore a relatively new control technology that had only been given a cursory examination at the request of the API. On November 2, 1976 Jimmy Carter defeated incumbent President Gerald Ford. The passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 now seemed certain. While EPA awaited the public policy fallout of the election more public comments were accepted between January and March 1977, most of which discussed the “adverse impact” Stage II regulations might have on the small business segment of service station dealers.20 On May 31, 1977 EPA, anticipating Congressional approval of the amendments, deferred the date for compliance with its Stage II program until further notice. EPA was not inactive as it awaited Congressional approval of the Clean Air Act Amendments. On June 8, 1977, EPA listed Benzene as a hazardous chemical under section 112 of the existing CAA.21 EPA took this action in response to three studies which had indicated a link between benzene exposure and leukemia incidences in workers. Since the CAA required EPA to issue final control standards for any chemical listed under section 112 within 180 days of the pollutant being added to the list, EPA had implicitly announced that it planned to target benzene emissions.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 passed Congress in August 1977.22 The amendments instructed EPA to “determine the feasibility and desirability of onboard hydrocarbon control technology which would avoid the necessity of gasoline vapor recovery of uncontrolled emissions emanating from the fueling of motor vehicles.”23 The amendments also granted EPA time to complete this and other environmental projects by extending the deadline for state governments to achieve the ozone NAAQS to December 31, 1982, and gave EPA permission to extend the compliance date five years further to December 31, 1987.24 Since ORVR controls would place the financial burden of controlling refueling emissions on the automobile industry, and since this technology was now a realistic possibility despite its relatively unproven status, it was certain that the automobile industry would now begin taking actions to push EPA back towards application of Stage II controls. The two largest industries in the United States, the oil and automobile industries, were about to do battle over the refueling emissions control issue. Between 1978 and 1980 EPA would gather data and receive competing studies as to the “feasibility and efficiency” ORVR controls from both oil companies and motor vehicle manufacturers. API and its individual corporate members constantly forwarded information supporting use of ORVR controls, whereas automobile manufacturers encouraged use of Stage II controls. Automobile companies claimed that Stage II was more economically efficient than ORVR controls, and repeatedly pointed out that onboard technology was still experimental and required at least ten years to phase in. “General Motors cost studies of onboard charcoal control show its cost effectiveness to be poor, relative to service station control. Furthermore, onboard control would require
more than ten years to become fully effective” wrote General Motors in March 1978.25 Oil companies, in contrast, contended that Stage II was less economically efficient and might irritate consumers because of the heavy weight of gas nozzles equipped with Stage II. They also insisted that ORVR control was no longer “experimental” and had been demonstrated to be both feasible and desirable. “We… believe that both ‘feasibility and desirability’ have been adequately demonstrated and that the administrations decision under Section 202(a)(6) of the Clean Air Act as amended in 1977 should be to prescribe, by regulation standards requiring the use of onboard hydrocarbon technology to control vehicle vapor emissions” Shell Oil company wrote to EPA on July 14, 1978.26 This assertion was based on a very extensive vehicle development program conducted by API and released to EPA in 1978.27 Meanwhile, state governments repeatedly asked EPA for a decision about how to control refueling emissions, and on several occasions between 1978 and 1981 EPA responded that a decision was pending. On July 6, 1978 EPA responded to a letter from the Council of the District of Columbia that that decision concerning the refueling emissions issue was scheduled for mid-1978.28 On December 28, 1978 when no determination had been made the EPA Assistant Administrator for Air, Noise and Radiation promised that EPA’s evaluation of the refueling emissions issue would be complete within one month. When a decision was still pending months later the Mayor of the District of Columbia wrote a letter to EPA requesting a ruling, to which EPA responded on May 14, 1979 that a decision was due that summer. Finally, in a September 29, 1979 letter the Administrator for Air Quality Programs in Maryland requested EPA to
indicate when a decision regarding onboard controls would be reached. EPA replied that a decision would be reached by February 1980.29 Meanwhile, EPA identified twelve major sources of benzene emissions in 1979. Among these was automobile refueling emissions.30 After ranking these source categories EPA chose five of them for regulatory action: Maleic anhydride, ethyl benzene, benzene storage, fugitive emissions and coke by-product recovery plants. Between April 1980 and January 1981 EPA proposed standards for all of these benzene sources except coke byproduct recovery plants.31 Although refueling emissions were not among the five groups chosen for regulation, the process of regulating refueling emissions was already underway due to hydrocarbon emissions, and the identification of benzene in refueling pollution would soon have an enormous impact on the public policy process. In 1980 EPA considered issuing a decision on the refueling emissions issue that favored the use of onboard controls.32 However, the Presidential election was fast approaching in November, and EPA still had “reservations concerning the analysis and a short-time frame in which to address these reservations.”33 As such, EPA decided to wait until after the election to issue a ruling on refueling emissions. This would prove to be a serious mistake. In November 1980 former California Governor Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Reagan had campaigned on a small-government platform that promised to cut taxes and reduce the size of government. As such, EPA, under orders from the Reagan administration, announced on April 13, 1981 that onboard controls would not be required in automobiles.34 A justification of this decision was scheduled to be produced by June 1981, but EPA never produced either a justification for
this decision or a plan to apply Stage II controls because, according to EPA officials, automobile refueling controls were delegated “a low-priority role.”35 EPA had been prepared to issue a decision on the refueling emissions issue on two separate occasions in the seven years between 1973 and 1980, once in 1976 and again in 1980. The 1976 proposal supported Stage II technology whereas the 1980 proposal would have required ORVR controls. However, both of these possible rulings had been blocked by political interference from either Congress or the Executive Branch. With the Reagan administration now refusing to consider any ruling that would lead to regulation at the expense of either the oil or automobile industries, work on the refueling emissions problem came to a complete halt. The issue might have come to a stop there, with no final ruling ever being produced, if environmental groups, concerned about benzene emissions, had not stepped in to revive the public policy process. Between April 1980 and January 1981, EPA had identified twelve major sources of Benzene, and proposed standards for four of the five sources it categorized as most hazardous to the American public. By June 1983, final standards had not been promulgated for any of these sources.36 On July 14, 1983, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) responded to EPA’s inactivity by filing a citizen suit against EPA in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit had two stated purposes: to compel EPA to issue final standards for the four source categories for which it had already proposed standards, and to compel EPA to propose standards for the remainder of the twelve source categories identified by EPA.37 Several affected industries, most notably the API and Chemical
Manufacturers Association (CMA) also entered the case in an attempt to have EPA remove Benzene from its list of hazardous air pollutants. Meanwhile, in 1982, before the citizens lawsuit had been filed, studies conducted by API had emerged establishing that vapor from wholly-volatilized gasoline, apart from its benzene content, was carcinogenic to laboratory animals. This disclosure, combined with the NRDC and EDF lawsuits, convinced EPA to “re-examine” the refueling issue.38 The suit would still be pending in the United States Court of Appeals as late as August 1985, but the actions of NRDC and EDF had effectively compelled the Reagan administration to allow EPA to pursue a rulemaking. Because automobile refueling emissions control had been delegated “a lowpriority role” since 1981, much of EPA’s information on the subject had become dated. As such, when EPA resumed work on the refueling emissions problem in 1983, an information gathering process ensued. The API and automobile industries immediately forwarded conflicting studies to EPA, with these studies encouraging the use of control technology paid for by the other industry. The automobile industry, concerned that EPA might propose a rule requiring ORVR controls, as EPA had been prepared to do in 1980, now sought to use politics to delay the rulemaking process. Pursuant to this effort, Michigan Congressman John D. Dingell (D) sent a letter to the General Accounting Office (GAO) on January 5, 1984.39 This letter requested that the GAO conduct an investigation of EPA’s “decision to regulate benzene emissions, including its plan to regulate benzene emitted during automobile refueling” and report its findings.40 This GAO investigation, the first of four requested by Dingell at two year intervals, would slow EPA’s rulemaking process by
creating obvious political obstacles and forcing EPA to redirect human resources to provide information to GAO. This primarily took the form of GAO employees touring EPA facilities, requesting documents and holding discussions with EPA officials.41 Despite the efforts of both API and the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association to slow and influence the public policy process, EPA continued to gather information, and on July 1984 EPA issued a comprehensive document, “Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry”.42 This dense publication would serve as EPA’s “bible” as the rulemaking process proceeded. As in 1973, few EPA employees could have imagined how much longer this rulemaking process would continue, as the most controversial aspect of the rulemaking, the automobile safety issue, had yet to be raised by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the auto industry when they commented on EPA’s “Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry”.
1. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1985), 42. 2. Ibid 3. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 54. 4. United States Government, Federal Register (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31,16531,168. 5. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 42. 6. Ibid 7. American Petroleum Institute, Cost Effectiveness of Methods to Control Vehicle Refueling Emissions (Pasadena, California: Refinery Management Services co, 1973),7. 8. American Petroleum Institute, Cost Effectiveness of Methods to Control Vehicle Refueling Emissions, 133-135. 9. Ibid. 10. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 42. 10. United States Government, Federal Register, (Washington, DC, 1974), 39, 21049. 11. American Petroleum Institute, Control of Refueling Emissions with an Activated Carbon Canister on the Vehicle – Performance and Cost Effectiveness Analyses (Anaheim, CA: Global Engineering Documents, 1973) 5-16. 12. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Refueling Emissions Seminar (Washington D.C.: Global Engineering Documents, 1973), 1. 13. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 42. 14. Federal Register, Approval and Promulgation of State Implementation Plans, (Washington, DC: GPO, 1974), 21049. 15. Federal Register, Air Quality Implementation Plans (Washington DC: GPO, 1976), 48044. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Begins Two-Year Monitoring Survey of Broadcast Radiation in Major United States Cities http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/monitor/02.htm. 19. Federal Register, Air Quality Implementation Plans, 48044. 20. Radian Corporation, Final Report: Assessment of the Feasibility and Desirability of Vapor Recovery Alternatives (Houston, Texas: Radian Corporation, 1978), 10. 21. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 10-11. 22. Federal Register, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 31163.
23. Radian Corporation, Final Report: Assessment of the Feasibility and Desirability of Vapor Recovery Alternatives, 10. 24. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 14. 25. General Motors, General Motors Commentary to the Environmental Protection Agency Relative to Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions (Detroit: General Motors, 1978), 1. 26. Shell Oil Company, Untitled (Houston, Texas: Shell Oil Company, 1978), 2. 27. American Petroleum Institute, Onboard Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions Demonstration of Feasibility, Publication 4306, 1978. 28. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 46, 29. Ibid. 30. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 11. 31. Ibid. 32. Environmental Protection Agency, Recommendation on Feasibility for Onboard Refueling Loss Control, Ann Arbor, MI, 1980. 33. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 43. 34. Federal Register, Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles and New Motor Vehicle Engines, (Washington, DC: GPO, 1976), 21628. 35. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 43. 36. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 12. 37. Ibid. 38. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1987), 10. 39. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 1. 40. Ibid. 41. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Strategy to Control Emissions of Benzene and Gasoline Vapor, 16-18. 42. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry (Washington D.C.: GPO, 1984), i.
Chapter V: The ORVR Safety Issue
Section 202(a)(6) of the 1977 and 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments contained a clause requiring EPA to consult with the Secretary of Transportation regarding the safety of vehicle-based (onboard) systems for the control of vehicle refueling emissions. While this clause appeared relatively minor, it became the focal point for several very extensive safety assessments and analyses by EPA, the Department of Transportation, and several other parties to the proceedings. It was also the issue for a protracted and sometimes difficult set of public interactions over the potential safety implications of ORVR and the basis for an argument that Stage II was the superior technology. EPA first addressed the issue of ORVR safety very briefly in the 1984 Gasoline Marketing Study mentioned in the previous chapter.1 In two relatively short paragraphs, EPA outlined several potential failure modes related to the hardware involved in the ORVR systems presented in the report (e.g., mechanical seal, fillneck mounted rollover valve, vapor/liquid separator) and problems related to failure of the automatic shut-off feature of gasoline dispensing nozzle. The write-up then went on to assert that while more work and analysis is needed, any problems should be solvable with direct engineering efforts and the use of a pressure relief valve as part of the fuel storage system on the vehicle. As part of the response to the Gasoline Marketing Study, EPA received a number of comments critical of its analysis.2 The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association and
many of the auto companies expressed various types and levels of concern about ORVR safety. Also, in response to a request from EPA, the technical staff of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (part of Department of Transportation (DoT)) provided some preliminary comments. The American Petroleum Institute (API) which, as described in Chapter III, had developed several ORVR prototype vehicles and the independent safety watchdog organization known as the Center for Auto Safety expressed support for the implementation of ORVR systems. EPA met with several of these groups to better understand their concerns and criticisms. The concerns expressed by the auto industry could be divided into three areas: the potential for tank overpressure and fuel spillage in an ORVR system using a mechanical fillneck seal if the liquid-vapor separator in the system failed and vapor could not be vented during refueling, concerns that modifications to the fillneck, vapor vent line, or canister could adversely affect the in-use safety of ORVR vehicles during crashes or vehicle rollover, and potential for safety problems during refueling if the canister is removed or the potential for fire hazard if the canister ruptures during an accident.3 In reviewing the comments and other inputs, it was evident that some of the features embodied in the ORVR systems EPA relied upon in the 1984 study would need to be modified. Most of these designs were drawn from the API work completed in the 1970s and improvements were needed to address some of the comments raised by the manufacturers.4 Toward that end, EPA undertook component development and laboratory assessment on a simplified system designed to inherently address the key concerns. This involved two key efforts.
The first, and perhaps most important, was the development of a liquid seal system to replace the mechanical seal. Under this design approach, the flowing gasoline would itself create the fillneck seal and it would “refresh” each refueling event. This concept was feasible on essentially all passenger cars and light trucks in production at that time.5 Furthermore, EPA undertook to develop a new “simplified” ORVR system.6 This simplified system included several design features aimed at reducing safety concerns. First, it incorporated a liquid seal as opposed to a mechanical seal. Secondly, it integrated the current evaporative and new refueling emission control functions into one system. This was achieved by increasing the volume of the carbon canister so that it could capture both evaporative and refueling emissions, moving the carbon canister from under the hood to the rear of the vehicle; thereby shortening the length of the vapor line but increasing the length of purge line, and by using the same canister purge valves and purge control system. EPA also increased the diameter of the vapor hose in the fillneck internal vent line and routed refueling emissions through it. EPA and also added an in-line rollover/vent valve which was connected to the carbon canister. This approach gave EPA a fresh response to industry concerns, since the design inherently eliminated many of the concerns raised in the comments. EPA argued that the risks with ORVR-equipped vehicles would be much like that with current vehicles equipped with evaporative systems since their design and operation are very similar. EPA continued to argue that any concerns related to ORVR systems could be addressed through engineering changes.
When the decision was made to pursue the proposal of nationwide ORVR controls in lieu of nationwide Stage II controls, EPA began work on a significantly enhanced study of the safety implications of ORVR systems. A draft of the report was submitted to NHTSA for comment in October 1986 and generally constructive comments were received from NHTSA the following month.7 EPA’s technical report was released in August 1987, as part of EPA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). It was much more detailed than its predecessor in the Gasoline Marketing Study and supplemented in great detail EPA’s response to comments to the safety analysis in the 1984 study.8 In further evaluating the safety issue, EPA applied the philosophy that no increase in overall risk should be caused or accepted beyond that now present with current fuel/evaporative systems. With this working philosophy, EPA’s technical report further tackled four general areas of concern. These included: the requirement to pass the NHTSA safety requirement for fuel system integrity (FMVSS 301), the effect(s) of customer tampering and system defects on safety, safety during refueling operations, and the allegation that fuel system integrity in-use for ORVR-equipped vehicles may decrease by some non-quantifiable amount because the DOT/NHTSA safety standard (FMVSS 301) can’t cover all accident situations. EPA’s technical report relied on the simplified ORVR system concept described above, but tackled each of the issues in much more detail. First, with regard to crashworthiness, EPA asserted that crash and rollover protection for the key vapor lines and other system components could be accomplished using many of the same techniques and approaches now applied successfully for evaporative systems and that any new or upgraded components are off-the shelf-technology now being used in vehicle
applications. Second, with regard to canister tampering and defects, EPA noted that canister tampering rates by consumers are very low and that placing the canister in the rear of the vehicle would further deter such behavior. EPA also asserted that there is no evidence that tampering or canister defects of any type would increase in an integrated ORVR/evaporative system canister in comparison to that used in the current evaporative systems. Third, with regard to system overpressures and fuel spillage EPA’s analysis concluded that refueling an ORVR system with a liquid seal would present no different fuel spillage risks than refueling a current non-ORVR vehicle since there is no mechanical seal and no need for an overpressure relief valve. Finally, EPA rejected the assertion from NHTSA staff that the modifications related to ORVR may decrease in-use fuel system integrity by some “unquantifiable” amount. EPA responded that manufacturers evaluate risks beyond those prescribed for evaluation in the FMVSS 301 test (separate front and side impact crashes at 30 mph tests both followed by rollover tests for fuel leakage) and that if a manufacturer identifies or perceives unacceptable in-use risk there are engineering and design tools available to mitigate such concerns. This is true for vehicles with evaporative controls and would be equally true of vehicles using integrated ORVR/evaporative systems. EPA concluded its report by stating that, “EPA has investigated and analyzed each of the potential onboard system safety issues raised by the commenters. After carefully considering all of the potential impacts an onboard system could have on the overall safety of a fuel system it is concluded that straightforward, reliable, relatively inexpensive engineering solutions exist for each of the potential problems identified. Furthermore, no increase in risk need occur or be accepted because of the presence of an onboard system. Onboard equipped vehicles can be designed to pass FMVSS 301 and provide a level of in-use fuel system integrity equal to or better than that achieved on present vehicles which incorporate evaporative emission control systems.”9
EPA’s report then proceeded to say: “EPA would not adopt an onboard requirement unless it is clear that safe fuel system designs were available.” and, “Manufacturers can and are expected to design and implement onboard systems in a manner which provides at least the same level of fuel system safety as achieved on present vehicles.” EPA submitted the report to NHTSA for review and in June 1987, NHTSA Administrator Diane Steed provided their response. NHTSA’s comments were constructive, but included the statement that “… there will be some unquantifiable increased risk of crash and non-crash fires associated with ORVR controls.”10 This phrase would become the mantra for the ORVR safety issue. EPA laid out its position on onboard safety in its August 1987 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). It basically summarized the points made in the technical report and closed with the assessment that: “Overall, the Agency finds that the experience with existing evaporative control systems should be useful in designing onboard systems and that there is nothing extraordinary about the equipment needed to assure safe operation. Furthermore, each of the potential safety hazards discussed above is well known to the various manufacturers and can be accommodated in designing onboard systems. For these reasons, EPA believes that practical and effective onboard systems can be designed and built, at a reasonable cost, that will not adversely affect vehicle safety.”11 It should be noted that the safety analysis was not the centerpiece of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). EPA rulemaking documents continued to address many aspects of the ORVR vs. Stage II decision, gasoline volatility increases, and the need for further control of vehicle evaporative emissions. As is traditional for proposed
rules the analysis focused and included many of technical feasibility, test procedure, cost, lead time, energy, and cost effectiveness assessments needed to support a decision to proceed with implementing ORVR. EPA’s failure to be more thorough on the safety issue created further opportunity for NHTSA, the auto industry, and others to continue to raise safety concerns about ORVR. Public participation in the EPA rule was substantial. EPA received well over 1,000 comments on its NPRM. These are found in public docket A-87-11 at EPA Headquarters in Washington DC. This NPRM drew a large number of comments because many parties still weighed in on the ORVR vs. Stage II decision. Of these1000 or so comments, about 450 addressed the safety issue in some form: 225 were from various private sectors companies and organizations, 111 were from Federal, state and local government officials, and 101 were from private citizens. Many of the Federal government officials who commented are still prominent today (e.g., Robert Byrd, Dick Cheney, John Dingell, Orin Hatch, and Barbara Mikulski among others). However, about 35 commenters provided substantive input on the ORVR safety issue both in support of and in opposition to EPA’s analysis.12 EPA’s August 1988 document entitled, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, laid out the key inputs from the public and provided EPA’s responses and additional analyses.13 The primary concern expressed by the auto-industry commenters was that ORVR systems would be more complex than current evaporative systems and this would lead to an increase in the risk of crash- and non-crash-related vehicle fires. They also pointed to an increase in the size and number of components, the number of vapor line
connections, and a general concern that the location of some of these components could degrade vehicle safety. Auto industry commenters also offered a number of comments on specific hardware components of ORVR systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a safety advocacy group funded by the nation’s auto insurance companies, offered concerns similar to those raised by the auto industry-related commenters. On the other hand, petroleum industry commenters stated that ORVR controls represented a smaller change than the initial requirement for adding evaporative controls in the early 1970s or the recent industry transformation from carburetion to fuel-injection. They pointed out that larger volume canisters and larger diameter vapor lines were the primary differences between ORVR systems and current evaporative systems. They further asserted that these systems have had almost no history of safety problems and pointed to studies showing that the risk of refueling vapor ignition in crash and non-crash fires was very small. These commenters also took the position that the implementation of integrated ORVR/evaporative control systems offered the opportunity for a safety benefit over current evaporative systems since auto manufacturers could address some of the undesirable design and operating features of current evaporative systems. Other commenters were mixed in their positions. The National Transportation Safety Board provided comments in support of the positions put forth by the auto industry.13, 14 The California Air Resources Board, a supporter of Stage II controls and a pioneer in vehicle evaporative controls, stated that ORVR systems were similar to evaporative controls and that they were unaware of any serious safety problems with evaporative controls.
Several important public interest groups also provided input. The Center for Auto Safety (CAS), directed by auto industry safety watchdog Clarence Ditlow, provided a study based on NHTSA complaint and recall data which found the risk of fires from ORVR systems to be minimal and easily handled with improved technology.15 They based this conclusion on the view that ORVR systems were only marginally more complex than current evaporative systems which their study indicated are an almost insignificant source of vehicle fires. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supported the CAS study stating that ORVR controls were evolutionary rather than revolutionary in nature and urged EPA to proceed with the rulemaking. The National Safety Council took no official position, but indicated that it held some reservations regarding possible additional fire risk with ORVR. In general while many commenters expressed opinions and provided their positions, few comments directly addressed the technical aspects of EPA’s 1987 safety report. While little additional substantive input was received, the issue was clearly not resolved. EPA needed to conduct more development work and additional analysis to support its conclusions regarding ORVR safety if the NPRM was to be finalized. Many of the most interesting public policy battles over the safety issues were yet to come. After comments were received EPA continued to consult with DOT and others regarding the ORVR safety issue but undertook additional substantial work. This work is divided into three areas, each of which is discussed and summarized below. First, EPA undertook to establish a baseline of risks of vehicles without and with evaporative control systems. Issues regarding current risks with evaporative systems and the projection of an unquantifiable increase in risk were raised by commenters and it was
clear that a baseline was necessary, especially since EPA was contending that in-use fire risks with current evaporative systems are very small and that integrated an ORVR/ evaporative system would be very similar in design and function to evaporative systems. To conduct this analysis, EPA undertook two efforts. First, EPA used data in a 1988 NHTSA report to assess fire rates in model year 1966-1975 vehicles during calendar years 1966-1986.16 Evaporative controls were introduced in 1971. This analysis concluded that there was no statistical indication of a change in fire rate related to the implementation evaporative controls in 1971 and later model year vehicles versus those produced in earlier model years. This finding was supported by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) work mentioned above, wherein only 0.4 percent of owner complaints related to vehicle fires cited the evaporative system as the cause. Second, EPA independently reviewed NHTSA’s data on recall campaigns, manufacturer technical service bulletins, and owner complaint files to evaluate the in-use reliability and performance of evaporative control systems. EPA also considered separate information provided by the manufacturers. EPA’s analysis, conducted in 1988, identified 20 evaporative system related recalls over 18 model years of vehicles (an average of about one recall per year.) Most of these recalls occurred in the first few years after evaporative emission controls were required. This represented 0.5 percent of about 4200 recalls which occurred in that time period and covered about 470,000 vehicles. About 130 million vehicles had been sold with evaporative controls since 1971 up until that year. EPA reviewed many thousands of NHTSA files regarding manufacturer technical service bulletins and found that only 70-120 out of 88,000 even tangentially involved evaporative controls systems. Finally, EPA reviewed NHTSA’ files regarding owner complaints and
found that about 100 made mention of evaporative systems and that of these less than 10 mentioned fire. NHTSA’s files included over 210,000 individual complaints. Based on these analyses EPA concluded that evaporative control systems have worked safely as demonstrated by both the in-use fire statistical information and the information in NHTSA’s recall, service bulletin, and owner complaint databases. While they commented in more detail on the NPRM, most auto manufacturers continued to raise the same concerns about the in-use safety of ORVR systems and components as they did on the 1987 Gasoline Marketing Study. These included concerns about the size and location of various ORVR system components (e.g., canister, vapor line, vapor line connections, various valves, fillneck seal, etc) and their potential for problematic performance or failure in non-crash situations and damage and fire risk in vehicle crashes. A widespread opinion of the auto industry commenters was that ORVR systems would be more complex than current evaporative control systems and that adding this complexity to the vehicle fuel system would cause an unquantifiable increase in the risk of crash and non-crash fires. Interestingly enough, these assertions seemed to be based on the use of mechanical fillneck seals and separate ORVR and evaporative canister systems even though EPA had put forth liquid seals and integrated ORVR/evaporative system canisters in the NPRM analysis and they had been demonstrated by API.17 EPA tackled these assertions directly by conducting a survey of the range of system design and complexity found in the current fuel/evaporative systems. EPA procured vehicle service manuals, system diagrams, and actual evaporative system hardware which clearly showed that manufacturers already use a wide variety of designs,
some simple and some complex, with many of the same features the industry was pointing to as problematic for ORVR. There were larger and smaller canisters, tanks with fillneck mounted valves, systems with many vapor hoses and many connections, systems with larger and smaller valves as well as separate valves for functions such as rollover and liquid/vapor separation, and systems with hardware in crush zones. Essentially every specific hardware concern for the ORVR system was found to have a counterpart already being used in current evaporative systems. EPA concluded that as a group, manufacturers already incorporated a range of design complexity in their systems but evidence (as discussed above) showed it could and was being done safely. To further address the complexity/risk issue, EPA undertook further development work on its simplified system. This involved several upgrades/improvements from the first generation simplified system which was already based on a liquid seal and an integrated ORVR/evaporative system with a rear-mounted canister. These changes included removing the external vent line from the fillneck tube so that refueling vapor cannot be routed through the fillneck opening, replacing the fillneck mounted vent/rollover valve with a tank mounted multi-function valve, and adding a current production anti-spitback valve to the bottom of the fillneck tube. This ensures the liquid seal spills no fuel upon closure of the fill-limiter valve. A prototype of this system was built and tested. It performed without problems, passing EPA’s proposed refueling emission standard under a wide variety of conditions representative of those seen in-use.18 EPA ultimately installed this system in a passenger vehicle and evaluated it in extensive highway driving without problems. EPA believed
this success fully demonstrated the feasibility and safety of ORVR vehicles and that the manufacturers’ preference for mechanical seals and separate systems was unnecessary. As part of their inputs, Ford, General Motors and API each provided EPA a special type of engineering analysis known as a design Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) comparing an ORVR system to an evaporative control system. An FMEA is a structured analytical tool used widely in the manufacturing sector during the design phase as a risk reduction tool. This analysis identifies the likelihood of component or system failures and the severity of the effects of the failure with regard to safety or some other endpoint. These analyses were informative but not necessarily instructive on EPA’s decision making process with regard to ORVR safety because none of the three used the evaporative and simple integrated ORVR/evaporative system EPA was pointing to in its new analysis. Based on suggestions from NHTSA and others EPA engaged a contractor to conduct an FMEA for the simple integrated ORVR/evaporative system above to that for a vehicle with a stock evaporative system. EPA elected to base its analysis on a 2.8 L V-6 engine since it was produced in carbureted and fuel-injected versions (used in the 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity and 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass, respectively) and the evaporative control approach was quite simple on each. EPA’s contractor, Battelle, analyzed ten scenarios including two basic evaporative system approaches (as above), four variations on these basic evaporative system approaches which looked at potential incremental system upgrades for safety, and four different configurations with ORVR. The analysis and results are quite lengthy and detailed but can be summarized as follows: most risks for all cases and states (driving, parked, refueling) have “remote” or “improbable”
likelihood of occurrence, most risks for all cases and states have medium severity or less, level of risk is not greatly different among all ten cases, and of ten cases analyzed, ORVR systems have relatively less risk than stock systems. The analysis further showed that the upgraded simplified integrated ORVR/evaporative control system (case 9) was superior to any of the stock systems with just evaporative controls in those in-use scenarios with the greatest risk.19 This was largely because the design features of the system and the control of refueling emissions directionally reduced overall risk in the three analytical states as compared to the base case. EPA conducted several other analyses to determine other potential safety benefits or disbenefits from ORVR. The first was related to service station fires. Using information from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), EPA estimated that there are about 160 refueling related fires per year at service stations. Most of these are related to fuel spillage during refueling and a few are related to ignition of refueling vapor. Using in-use estimates of the frequency and types of fuel spillage as discussed in Chapter II, and the fact that the ORVR test procedure would require spitback to be eliminated in order to pass the test, EPA estimated that about one-half of refueling related service station fires would be eliminated. 20 This was consistent with an earlier EPA conclusion that refueling related fires comprise 4-6 percent of all service station fires and that ORVR could eliminate about 60 percent of the occurrences.21 In assessing risk, it also became apparent that an ORVR system which used the anti-spitback valve at the bottom of the fillpipe would have the added benefit of deterring gasoline siphoning and thus potentially reducing the number of gasoline ingestions which
occur. Using emergency room data from the National Electronic Injury Reporting System (NEISS) and information from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, EPA’s contractor estimated about 8,200 siphoning events result in a person seeking medical advice from a poison control center each year and that about 950 -1350 cases per year result in visits to health care facilities or emergency rooms. About 150 siphoning-related gasoline ingestions result in hospitalization each year but no deaths were reported.22 This was another directionally positive effect of ORVR systems as conceived by EPA. After its extensive work assessing the safety performance of evaporative systems and identifying the wide variety of designs used, demonstrating even simpler integrated ORVR/evaporative systems, and identifying other safety and health benefits related to ORVR implementation through its FMEA and other work, EPA held its ground on the safety issue. EPA believed it had addressed the complexity/risk claims of the auto industry both through thorough analysis of the current evaporative systems and improved designs for ORVR systems. Its massive 1988 report concluded: “Overall, EPA still believes that onboard control systems will have no negative effect upon vehicle safety and actually provide the opportunity to improve safety in several areas. The added complexity of evaporative control systems was found not to affect vehicle safety. EPA feels that onboard controls can and will be implemented with the same or better safety level as current systems. Further, because of the potential design improvements and service station benefits, EPA believes that onboard control systems will have the potential for an overall beneficial impact on safety.”23 However, the last chapter had not yet been written on the ORVR safety issue as there was still political opposition to implementing ORVR. As required by law EPA submitted its revised safety analysis to NHTSA and they responded in October 1988.24 At this point, the legitimate technical element to the EPA/NHTSA consultative process
broke down completely. Basically, NHTSA kept its same position, maintaining that not all safety concerns associated with ORVR controls had been satisfactorily resolved. It noted that its previous concerns that ORVR will add complexity to vehicle fuel systems and increase the opportunity for fires in crash and non-crash situations remained. NHTSA noted that no organization, to its knowledge, had demonstrated a safe simple ORVR system, that works properly and consistently in real-world operating conditions and, as a result, no practical data existed to review concerning the safety of the simple ORVR system. Overall, NHTSA concluded that further engineering, demonstration, and/or testing must be conducted to assure that ORVR controls will not result in safety problems. Furthermore, NHTSA continued to disagree with EPA’s position that ORVR controls are an extension of evaporative emission controls. NHTSA noted that although the two systems are similar physically and structurally, they function differently with respect to the vapor flow rates, canister vapor capture requirements, and system purge rates. NHTSA maintained without explanation that simple ORVR systems do not reduce the functional complexity involved with ORVR systems because it was also designed to control evaporative emissions. NHTSA maintained that ORVR and evaporative control systems function differently, so the in-use operating, driving, and safety concerns are different and it is premature for EPA to conclude that ORVR controls do not pose any safety risks because of its physical and structural similarity. NHTSA also disagreed with EPA’s conclusions that evaporative emission controls have had no detrimental effect on vehicle fires. According to NHTSA, the incidence of vehicle crash fires is small and the national databases EPA reviewed (and NHTSA provided) are not designed to detect changes in the incidence of such infrequent events. Consequently, NHTSA would only
conclude that any change in fire incidents were small, not non-existent, as contended by EPA. In addition, NHTSA claimed that they had never seen or driven a fully functional integrated ORVR/evaporative system vehicle even though it was documented that they had fully evaluated EPA’s vehicle, a 1988 Ford Taurus.25 Finally, NHTSA took issue with the results of the FMEA conducted by Battelle for EPA. NHTSA claimed that the FMEA did not address safety risks associated with operation of the ORVR system, even though it assessed operation both during refueling and driving. Without explanation, NHTSA also took issue with Battelle’s finding that ORVR presents the potential for improvements as a result of the deign changes incorporated into the integrated ORVR/evaporative system as compared to the evaporative system alone. In support of its position, NHTSA contracted with A.D. Little to assess its position on ORVR safety. In June of 1989 A.D. Little issued its report.26 The report basically backed NHTSA’s contentions about ORVR safety, based on its review of research reports, safety recalls, and service bulletins, discussions with EPA and EPA’s contractor Battelle, and its evaluation of EPA’s prototype ORVR system. It further criticized the scope and methodology of the Battelle FMEA and claimed the utility of its conclusions are limited. In June 1989 President Bush announced his proposal to amend the Clean Air Act. The President’s proposal included Stage II in NAAs, not ORVR, and EPA ceased further work on ORVR until after passage of the 1990 amendments to the CAA.27 Even though it was not in the President’s proposal, the 1990 amendments to the CAA required EPA to implement ORVR in consultation with NHTSA. The saga continued, but with little further analysis by EPA.
Since the Administration did not support ORVR, EPA invested few resources in seeking to resolve issues with NHTSA. In July 1991 NHTSA issued two reports. The first was a laboratory report conducted by NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center in Ohio.28 This report demonstrated that with relatively sustained high energy ignition sources (spark, hot surface, open flame) crushed canister contents could catch fire and also that gasoline vapor flowing through a cut vapor line and ignited by an open flame would catch fire. No attempt was made to equate these ignition sources to those encountered during vehicle operation or accidents. Given that gasoline vapors are highly flammable, these results were not surprising. NHTSA did not raise or address the fact that similar information had been presented by the auto manufacturers and API in 1988 and had been addressed by EPA in its 1988 document.29 The second was a report prepared by NHTSA staff and provided to EPA as part of its consultation under the 1990 amendments to the CAA. As explained in a letter dated February 27, 1991 the NHTSA Administrator, Jerry Curry, advised EPA that its safety concerns about ORVR remain and, accordingly, NHTSA continues to be apprehensive about the safety of ORVR systems.30 A few months thereafter, the NHTSA Administrator advised EPA that because ORVR systems present potential safety risks, NHTSA would make its assessment as thorough and well documented as possible.31 The purpose of the report was to establish NHTSA’s consultation position concerning ORVR safety for consideration by EPA in its ORVR rulemaking deliberations. NHTSA provided the report to EPA in July 1991.32 The principal findings of the report reflected NHTSA’s previous positions and concerns on ORVR systems. These included claims of increased design and functional complexity, that ORVR components
would need to be placed in accident crush zones, and that this complexity and component placement would result in failures in collisions and normal use. NHTSA went on to document the vapor flow rates in refueling and referred to the crushed canister and cut vapor line tests conducted at their Ohio laboratory as a basis for concerns. NHTSA principal conclusion regarding ORVR safety was summarized in their report: “The complexity of these systems and data indicating that fire risks will increase with ORVR systems lead to the conclusion that ORVR systems will result in an increase in safety risk and thus have a negative impact on safety.”33 In August 1991, EPA published a document entitled, Summary of Changed Circumstances, in which it addressed how many of the changes in the 1990 amendments to the CAA affected the analysis supporting its 1987 NPRM.34 It did not respond to either of NHTSA’s July 1991 reports regarding ORVR safety and EPA did not change its position on ORVR safety. However, the stage was now set for EPA to not finalize its ORVR proposal but rather to make a negative finding on ORVR safety, based on deferring to NHTSA’s analysis. EPA held a public hearing on this matter in September 1991 and while the auto and oil interests staunchly maintained their positions and nothing was resolved from a technical perspective, this finding was published in the Federal Register on April 15, 1992.
Endnotes 1. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Environmental Protection Agency, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1984), C-9 – C-10. 2. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems (Washington D.C: Environmental Protection Agency, 1988), 1-4. 3. Environmental Protection Agency, Safety Implications of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1987), 3-97. 4. American Petroleum Institute, On-board Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions Demonstration of Feasibility, (Washington D.C: API, 1978), 1-28. 5. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of the feasibility of Liquid Fillneck Seals, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1986), 1-54. 6. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 5-1 – 5-8. 7. Ralph Hitchcock, letter, Nov 13, 1986. 8. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry- Response to Public Comments, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1987), 2-28 – 2-33. 9. Environmental Protection Agency, Safety Implications of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, 95. 10. Diane Steed, letter, June 11, 1987. 11. Federal Register, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1987), 31162 – 31271. 12. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 1-5 – 1-12. 13. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 1-3 – 5-8 14. Jim Burnett, letter, January 26, 1988 15. Center for Auto Safety, Stopping Vehicle Fires and Reducing Evaporative Emissions: The Need to Control Gasoline and Alcohol Blend Volatility, (Washington D.C: CAS, 1988), 1-37. 16. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Study of Motor Vehicle Fires, (Washington D.C: NHTSA, 1988), 21. 17. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Onboard Refueling Control, (Washington D.C: API, 1986), 1-18. 18. Environmental Protection Agency, Application of Onboard Refueling Emission Control System to a 1998 Ford Taurus Vehicle, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1988), 1-30. 19. Battelle, Report on Fuel System Comparative Risk Assessment, (Columbus, Ohio: Battelle, 1988), 1-86.
20. Battelle, Presentation on Service Station Refueling Risk Assessment, (Columbus, Ohio: Battelle, 1989) 21. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 5-8. 22. Battelle, Incidence of Siphoning-Related Gasoline Ingestion, (Washington D.C: Battelle, 1989), 1- D-1. 23. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 5-9. 24. Diane Steed, letter, October 24, 1988. 25. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors from Motor Vehicles, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1989), 27. 26. Arthur D. Little, Final Draft, An Assessment of Key Safety Issues Associated with Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, (Boston: Arthur D. Little, 1989), i – 6-3. 27. Honorable William Reilly, Letter, September 18, 1989 28. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fuel Vapor Canister Fire Simulation Tests, (Washington D.C: NHTSA, 1991), i-13. 29. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, 3-81 – 3-84. 30. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Assessment of the Safety of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, (Washington D.C: NHTSA, 1991). 31. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Assessment of the Safety of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, 31. 32. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Assessment of the Safety of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, i – 31. 33. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Assessment of the Safety of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Systems, iv. 34. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary of Changed Circumstances, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1991), 1-17. 35. Federal Register (Washington D.C: GPO, 1992), 13220 – 13231.
Chapter VI: Safety Debate, Political Intervention and Final Regulation, 1984-1994 After completion of EPA’s Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry in July 1984, EPA still had a great deal of analytical work to complete before it could propose a rule requiring either ORVR or Stage II (or both). Motor vehicle manufacturers and oil companies forwarded more than 180 responses to EPA during the thirty day comment period following the release of the document, and EPA would spend the next two and a half years analyzing all of the major issues raised in the comments and re-accomplishing its key analyses in preparation for a decision on a proposed rule.1 This included key analyses such as the technological feasibility, cost, cost effectiveness, lead time, safety, air quality and public health benefits for both ORVR and Stage II in support of a decision by EPA Administrator Lee Thomas on which of the two strategies to support for nationwide implementation.. The Natural Resources Defense Council had successfully removed the political barrier to regulatory action through successful litigation regarding benzene in 1983, but it was clear that EPA was still far from proposing a rule. Both the automobile and oil industries continued to apply pressure to EPA in an effort to gain a decision which would place the burden of regulation on the other industry. The oil industry was more active on the technical front, especially because it barely avoided a Stage II mandate prior to the 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act and ORVR was experimental in comparison to Stage II.2 The auto industry pushed the advantages of Stage II.3
The ORVR vs. Stage II controversy occurred against a backdrop of other problems with fuel vapor emissions control. To the outside observer it appeared that EPA could pursue an approach that would appear as a compromise between the financial interests of the two industries. Since November 1983, the agency had been concerned by high evaporative emissions from automobiles, which exceeded the federally mandated 2.0 gram/test limit, and averaged 2.15 grams for fuel-injected systems and 4.64 grams for vehicles with carburetors.4 EPA had tested 400 automobiles between November 1983 and April 1985 to determine the source of the problem, and concluded that the excess emissions were caused by the addition of butane to unleaded gasoline to enhance its octane loss.5 The use of butane in commercial fuel had increased volatility levels, and since the fuel was moving faster at the molecular level its temperature was higher, and warmer fuel was evaporating more quickly both in-use and when being dispensed during refueling. To resolve this problem EPA, in a November 1985 Study of Gasoline Volatility and Hydrocarbon Emissions from Motor Vehicles, reported its findings and evaluated the possibility of passing regulations setting a legal limit of 9.0 psi RVP for commercial gasoline during the Summer months, from June-September.6 API, which according to EPA’s study would pay $239 million dollars annually to achieve this volatility level, opposed this regulatory option, and suggested the real cost would be $650 million annually.7 The automobile industry, perhaps noting that volatility requirements would reduce emission levels at no cost to them, proposed cost figures lower than EPA’s, with estimates varying substantially between corporations.8 Perhaps seeking to persuade acceptance of ORVR from the automobile industry, EPA now resolved to link the fuel
volatility and refueling emissions issues together and presented the two proposed regulations as a compromise between the interests of both industries: the oil industry would pay to reduce fuel volatility while the automobile industry would pay for ORVR. However, both industries knew there could be more to come. EPA talked seriously about another phase of volatility controls beyond the 9.0 psi summer limit and other studies indicated that EPA’s evaporative emission test procedures needed review and upgrade to be more effective in real world conditions. EPA ultimately implemented these new requirements in 1993. As EPA drew nearer to proposing these regulations, both industries applied political pressure to EPA in an effort to influence the decisions. Between January 1986 January 1987, Congressman Dingell of Michigan, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent nine letters to EPA requesting responses to inquiries about fuel volatility, evaporative emissions and refueling emissions and safety.9 From January-December 1986 EPA sent Representative Dingell “more than 1,000 memoranda, studies, charts and other documents” in response to these letters, even as work on the second General Accounting Office study, also requested by Representative Dingell, occurred between August 1986April 1987.10 Both industries also continued forwarding industry-sponsored studies to EPA, with the conclusions of these studies invariably supporting use of the control technology that would be paid for by the other industry. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) voiced its concerns about the safety implications of ORVR for the first time in mid-1986. NHTSA staff expressed to EPA worries that onboard control systems would “…increase
the complexity of vehicle fuel systems and the chances of fuel system failures and fires in motor vehicle crashes.”11 EPA promptly began to prepare a response addressing these concerns and reiterating EPA’s position that ORVR was safe and effective. Chapter V contains significantly more detail on the safety work conducted by EPA between the 1984 release of the document and the August 1987 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Few in EPA could have anticipated that NHTSA’s safety concerns about ORVR would remain a contentious issue between the two agencies until 1993. EPA finally forwarded a draft document to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in March 1987.12 It included a full analysis responding to the comments on the 1984 Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry document, an analysis which laid out the analysis supporting EPA’s decision to support ORVR controls over Stage II, and a full Regulatory Impact Analysis supporting the ORVR proposal. This package was opposed by the auto industry on many grounds but was not modified substantially during OMB review. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on August 19, 1987.13 The proposal required national implementation of ORVR controls on all gasoline-powered highway vehicles in 1990 on the basis that ORVR “appears significantly less expensive than some of the options which have been identified” and because “other control programs are generally more difficult to implement relative to a refueling control program.”14 It included a first ever refueling emissions test procedure, which among other things controlled gasoline spillage during refueling, and set the emission standard at 0.10 grams of vapor per gallon of fuel dispensed. It had the added potential benefit of capturing at least some of the excess evaporative emissions EPA had identified in the years leading up to the NPRM and thus
helping to resolve that problem. The proposal also noted that ORVR could control more total emissions than Stage II in the long term and more cost effectively than nationwide Stage II, but it did not preclude the implementation of Stage II in ozone NAAs. EPA also commented briefly that, “It is EPA’s finding that there appears to be no obstacle which would prevent the design and production of safe onboard systems.”15 Table VI-1, drawn from the 1987 RIA prepared by EPA, contains a summary of the key analytical parameters used by EPA in its decision to select ORVR. Table VI-1 Annualized Values for Key Analytical Parameters NW ORVR NW Stage II Costs (million$) 150 190 Emission 425 255 Reductions (tons) Cost 350 960 Effectiveness($/ton) Cancer Reductions 35 32 Million $/cancer 4 8 reduction
NAA Stage II 60 78 980 12 7
To reduce evaporative emissions, EPA also proposed reducing volatility rates during the Summer months, specifically May 16 – September 15, when most ozone violations occurred.16 This would be accomplished by Phase I reductions, which would take effect in 1989 and would reduce fuel volatility to between 10.5 and 9 psi RVP, depending on existing RVP levels in various regions of the country. Phase II, which would take effect in the summer of 1992, would further lower fuel volatility levels, to either 9 or 7.8 psi RVP, again depending on the region of the country involved.17 EPA estimated that this would cost oil refineries $490 million annually, with a net cost to
consumers of about $200 million, or “…about $20 per vehicle during the vehicle’s life.”18 On April 1987, one month after EPA forwarded its draft proposal requiring ORVR to OMB, NHTSA Administrator Diane Steed testified before a Congressional oversight hearing chaired by Congressman John Dingell on EPA’s effort to control ozone. Steed testified “… that the agency had concerns about onboard safety and whether EPA’s 2-year lead time estimate will provide the motor vehicle manufacturers with sufficient time to properly address any safety issues. At the same time she indicated that whether safety problems will actually materialize with onboard systems will have to await actual system development by the motor vehicle manufacturers.”19 Two months later, on June 1987, EPA released an initial evaluation of NHTSA’s safety concerns.20 The report examined the integrity of ORVR components in crash situations, and observed the effects of system defects, tampering, faulty repairs and vehicle refueling on ORVR systems. EPA concluded that, based on its examination, ORVR systems could easily be designed which would be as-safe or safer than other systems then used in automobiles.21 Shortly after EPA finally proposed national regulations, state governments began to pass independent regulations of volatility levels. In November 1987, the eight NESCAUM states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) passed standards reducing legal fuel volatility to 9.0 RVP between May 1 and September 15 each year, starting in 1989.22 All eight states passed identical standards except New Hampshire, which elected to make their policy effective in 1990.
In the April 1987 Congressional testimony, NHTSA insisted that ORVR must be designed and applied by motor vehicle manufacturers before its in-use safety could be fully evaluated. Car companies were not about to design a system which they might subsequently be required to apply in the vehicles they manufactured, at a cost of millions of dollars annually to themselves. NHTSA was unconvinced about ORVR after evaluating a prototype ORVR system built by API.23 Thus, EPA began to design and build an integrated ORVR/evaporative system of its own in early 1988.24 EPA then conducted laboratory and road assessments on a vehicle equipped with EPA’s model ORVR system, and found that ORVR controls were safe relative to evaporative emissions controls.25 NHTSA also evaluated the driveability and refueling characteristics of the vehicle and found the satisfactory.26 In March of 1988, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) published an independent report supporting EPA’s proposal to reduce fuel volatility levels and implement ORVR. The CAS study examined 4,276 safety recalls issued since 1966 and 146,000 vehicle safety reports on file with NHTSA since 1977.27 CAS found only two recalls involving evaporative system fires as the cause in 18 model years of evaporative system controls. Also, CAS found that between 1979 and 1986 average summer fuel volatility levels had increased dramatically, from 9.2 to 10.4 psi RVP. CAS also found, based on its examination of NHTSA safety reports, that since 1979 rising fuel volatility levels had been responsible for 71 fires, 25 injuries and 2 deaths. The CAS report concluded that the results of its study demonstrated that EPA should “…move immediately to impose stringent gasoline volatility standards.”28
In August 1988, EPA published a draft revised analysis of the ORVR safety issue. EPA simplified the ORVR system by using a liquid seal rather than a mechanical seal, thereby essentially eliminating the risk of fuel tank pressurization and fuel spitback during refueling. It also moved the canister from under the hood to the rear of the vehicle thus reducing crash concerns and shortening the length of the vapor line needed for ORVR systems.29 In the subsequent month, September 1988, both Ford and General Motors built vehicles equipped with the ORVR system designed by EPA. Both companies reported that test results on these vehicles showed that the ORVR design developed by EPA was unsafe and not readily adaptable for existing car designs.30 EPA then visited Ford’s testing facility and solved the company’s problems with the onboard design. Ford, however, later claimed that new problems had emerged with their model of EPA’s system design. GM indicated fewer issues than raised by Ford. In October1988, NHTSA responded to EPA’s draft report by stating that not all of its safety concerns had been addressed.31 NHTSA noted that its original concerns about added system complexity and increased chance of fire in a crash, due to larger component parts in the ORVR system, remained. NHTSA also stated that fuel filling, fuel leakage, stalling and other driving problems had been encountered while driving a (poorly designed) model vehicle sent to NHTSA by the API.32 EPA doubtless began to draft a response, but whatever work was accomplished on this document was soon to be rendered irrelevant. On November 1988, George H.W. Bush was elected President of the United States. As Vice President in the Reagan Administration, he had engineered the demise of EPA’s original ORVR program in April 1981. With President Bush now in the oval
office, it seemed highly unlikely that EPA’s 1987 ORVR proposal would ever be implemented. EPA basically stopped work on ORVR but began to pursue development of a separate rule addressing improved evaporative emission controls since that issue was important to address and not as politically charged as ORVR. Perhaps partly in response to the election outcome and partly in response to the unresolved concerns about ORVR safety, EPA uncoupled the timing of its ORVR and fuel volatility rulemakings. In March 1989, EPA issued regulations that required Phase I volatility reductions beginning in summer of 1989. At that time no action was taken to implement Phase II volatility reductions, but this did ultimately occur.33 President Bush had not changed his opinion of ORVR in the eight years which had elapsed since 1981. On June 1989, he announced initiatives to amend the CAA to deal with the fact that most states were not achieving the deadlines to attain the NAAQS ozone standard. These amendments would require Stage II in ozone non-attainment areas and would lower fuel volatility levels to 9.0 psi RVP during the summer months.34 This legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 3030 on July 27, and the same legislation was put forth in the Senate as S.1490 on August 3. By proposing the application of Stage II controls in non-attainment areas only, President Bush had effectively reversed EPA’s August 1987 proposal for nationwide ORVR controls. Public records indicate that the supplemental ORVR NPRM on safety was returned to EPA by OMB, thus effectively ending EPA’s efforts.35 The Democrats, not the Republicans, held majority control in both the House and the Senate. Consequently, President Bush was unable to muster enough political support to pass his amendments to the CAA without compromise. A series of compromises now
ensued between Republicans and Democrats on various aspects of the amendments, including the ORVR versus Stage II controversy The resulting compromise between Democrats and Republicans was the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Enacted on November 15, 1990, the amendments required both nationwide ORVR controls and Stage II controls in moderate or worse ozone nonattainment areas and a region of the country in the NE US known as the Ozone Transport Region. In section 202(a)(6) of the amendments, EPA, working in consultation with NHTSA, was required to promulgate a rule requiring ORVR nationwide no later than November 15, 1991.36 EPA was also, however, precluded by section 202(a)(4) of the CAA from requiring any component or element of design in its ORVR system that would cause or contribute to an unreasonable risk to public safety. Between November 1990 and April 1992, EPA held consultations with NHTSA, industry representatives, and the public at large regarding implementation of section 202(a)(6) and about how to address the ongoing safety concerns. Neither agency was able to make significant progress in persuading the other to change its position during this time, and the 1991 GAO report, the last Congressman Dingell would get a chance to request, could only report that the agencies had arrived at a gridlock.37 EPA would not reconsider its position that ORVR technology was safe and easily applicable, and NHTSA would not agree that ORVR could be implemented without negative affects on vehicle safety and thus give EPA the “green light” to promulgate a rule requiring nationwide ORVR as the CAAA of 1990 had required. In fact, NHTSA proactively sought to provide two reports to EPA in July 1991 regarding its official position on the consultation called for in section 202(a)(6). It is clear that it was NHTSA’s intent to bury
ORVR, as they ignored previous positions they had taken and analyses presented by EPA and others in reaching their conclusion that ORVR could not be implemented without a negative impact on safety. Finally the Bush Administration decision regarding ORVR was published in the Federal Register on April 22, 1992.38 The document reiterated EPA’s position on ORVR as spelled out in its August 1987 proposal, and then announced EPA’s decision not to promulgate ORVR control requirements at this time and explained the rationale for that decision.39 EPA had, in reality, not changed its analysis or position, but had simply elected to defer to NHTSA on the issue. Exactly why EPA had suddenly chosen to accept NHTSA’s opinion on a subject that the two agencies had disputed for more than five years was not stated in the document. However, it is very important to observe that EPA never changed its technical position on ORVR or ORVR safety, but rather deferred to NHTSA as the Federal agency with expertise in vehicle safety. Much as Vice-President Bush had intervened to prevent the pursuit of nationwide ORVR controls in April 1981, now President Bush, appeared to have done the same in 1992, despite the fact that the CAAA of 1990 specifically required EPA to promulgate a final rule implementing nationwide ORVR controls for passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Chapter IV discussed how the Reagan administration’s effort to kill EPA’s pursuit of ORVR controls was overturned by the US Courts on the basis of the need to control benzene emissions as a toxic air pollutant. The Bush administration’s decision to block ORVR controls was about to be overturned in the US court in a lawsuit brought by the same group that had sued to reinitiate the public policy process in 1983.
In 1993, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued EPA in an effort to force the agency to pass ORVR controls. NRDC cited section 202(a)(6) of the CAAA of 1990, which specifically required EPA to promulgate a rule requiring ORVR. NRDC was joined by a variety of environmental groups concerned about emissions, the Center for Auto Safety, which had determined back in May 1988 that not applying ORVR to vehicles represented a hazard to consumers, and dismayed oil companies, who sought to require nationwide ORVR so that the motor vehicle manufacture industry would pay for emissions reductions at no cost to the oil industry.40 EPA, joined by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, argued against this conglomerate group that under section 202(a)(4), EPA could not require a component or element of design that causes or contributes to an unreasonable risk to public safety, and that ORVR represented such a risk relative to Stage II which represented no risks.41 The case was argued before the United States District Court of Appeals in Washington D.C, and the three judge panel ruled in favor of NRDC on the basis that the CAAA of 1990 did not allow for a comparison with Stage II technology under section 202(a)(4) of the Act. The Court ruled that EPA had a mandatory duty under section 202(a)(6). Lawyers from both sides subsequently settled in an agreement outside of court, whereby EPA would promulgate standards requiring nationwide ORVR by January 22, 1994.42 EPA now reasserted its 1987 proposal requiring ORVR, and in Federal Register notices on May 27 and June 17, 1993, EPA requested public comments on its ORVR proposal and changed circumstances.43 As part of its action EPA incorporated some minor test procedure changes which the auto industry claimed would encourage the use of the simple integrated ORVR/evaporative system developed by EPA and very slightly
relaxed the emission standard to encourage the use of liquid seals over mechanical seals.44 Such changes were encouraged by NHTSA in the revised safety assessment of ORVR following the court decision.45 One must wonder why NHTSA simply did not suggest these changes in 1987 when they were first raised in the comments or why NHTSA never revised FMVSS 301 to deal with their concerns about ORVR safety. The application of ORVR, however, was no longer open for dispute, and EPA finally promulgated a ruling requiring nationwide ORVR on April 22, 1994.46 After twenty-one years, the long and contentious history of the automobile refueling emissions control controversy had finally come to an end. ORVR control would start in the 1998 model year and phase-in over eight succeeding model years giving the auto industry the time they said was needed to do ORVR safely. The analysis behind EPA’s final rule was fully documented in a regulatory impact analysis and summary and analysis of comments.47
1. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1987),18-19. 2. American Petroleum Institute, Vehicle Onboard Refueling Control, (Washington D.C: API, 1986,), 1-18. 3. Multinational Business Services Inc, Costs and Cost-Effectiveness of Stage II and Onboard Refueling Vapor Controls, (Washington D.C: MBS, 1987), 1-1 – 4-35. 4. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 32. 5. Ibid. 6. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis, Control of Gasoline Volatility and Evaporative Hydrocarbon Emissions from New Motor Vehicles, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1987), 1-1 – 7-9. 7. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 33-35. 8. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 36-38. 9. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 11-13. 10. Ibid. 11. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 23. 12. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 2. 13. Federal Register, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1987), 31178. 14. Federal Register, 31178. 15. Federal Register, 31202. 16. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 28. 17. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1989), 16. 18. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 4. 19. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Vehicle Refueling and Evaporative Emissions, 23. 20. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 24. 21. Ibid 22. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 19. 23. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 27.
24. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 24-25. 25. Environmental Protection Agency, Application of Onboard Refueling Emission Control System to a 1998 Ford Taurus Vehicle, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1988), 1-30. 26. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 27. 27. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 18. 28. Ibid. 29. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 26. 30. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 29. 31. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 27-28. 32. Ibid. 33. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 2-15. 34. General Accounting Office, EPA’s Efforts to Control Gasoline Vapors From Motor Vehicles, 11. 35. Honorable William Reilly, Letter, September 18, 1989. 36. General Accounting Office, New Approach Needed to Resolve Safety Issue for Vapor Recovery Systems, 2. 37. General Accounting Office, New Approach Needed to Resolve Safety Issue for Vapor Recovery Systems, 3. 38. Federal Register, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1992), 13220. 39. Ibid 40. Federal Register, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1994), 16263. 41. GAO 1991, 13. 42. Federal Register, (Washington D.C: GPO, 1994), 16263. 43. Ibid 44. Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments Regarding the Potential Safety Implications of Onboard Vapor Recovery Systems, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1998), 3-2, 3-62. 45. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, An Assessment of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery System Safety, (Washington D.C: NHTSA, 1993), 1-31. 46. Federal Register, 1994, 16263. 47. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy Duty Vehicles, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1994), 1-1 – 7-27, Environmental Protection Agency, Summary and Analysis of Comments, (Washington D.C: EPA, 1994), 1-50.
Chapter VII: Postscript- Refueling Emission Control Implementation Experience
The promulgation of the ORVR final rule in January 1994 culminated a long and difficult public policy process for EPA. It placed the requirement for implementing ORVR for passenger cars and light-duty trucks on the vehicle manufacturers and left the states with the obligation to implement requirements for Stage II as called for by the CAA. However, the decisions and controversy which arose during this process left some questions unanswered and some unfinished business. It has now been thirteen years since the EPA ORVR decision and there have been nine model years of vehicles with ORVR control (1998-2006). It is useful to review the developments of the past thirteen years to assess the in-use experience with ORVR and Stage II implementation. Even though the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for the ORVR final rule included ORVR for all gasoline-powered vehicles (passenger cars, light trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles), a last minute political decision at EPA excluded heavy-duty gasoline vehicles (HDGVs) from the requirement.1 In the EPA analysis these HDGVs were divided into two groups. The first group, known as light-heavy-duty gasoline vehicles (LHDGVs), included the largest of the standard pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and vans. The second group, known as heavy-heavy duty-gasoline vehicles (HHDGVs), included vehicles such as six-wheel city delivery trucks and school buses. EPA’s RIA estimated that LHDGVs used about 5.8 percent of annual gasoline consumption while HHDGVs used only about 1.9 percent.2 EPA partially resolved the
HDGV issue in two rules published in 2000. In the Tier 2 final rule, EPA adopted ORVR for LHDGVs used primarily for passenger transportation (e.g., large SUVs and passenger vans).3 Also, in a rule implementing other new requirements for HDGVs, EPA adopted ORVR for all other LHDGVs which leave the manufacturers’ facilities as a complete vehicle (e.g., large pick up trucks and work vans).4 These two rules, which required ORVR phase in over the three model year period of 2004-2006, brought the overall coverage of the ORVR requirement to about 98 percent of annual gasoline consumption. EPA has elected not to pursue ORVR for HHDGVs because they are relatively few in number and involve secondary manufacturers with less expertise in fuel system fabrication.5 Beginning in the 2006 model year, the ORVR requirement would be completely phased-in and cover 99.6 percent of annual new gasoline-powered vehicle sales.6 California adopted ORVR in 1996, using the same phase-in as adopted by EPA and has since adopted EPA’s additions to the program.7 As discussed in Chapter V, during the course of the ORVR rulemaking, both the automobile industry and NHTSA raised serious concerns about the vehicle safety implications of implementing ORVR. These concerns and objections were ostensibly the reason for the long public debate regarding ORVR controls and EPA’s short-lived finding not to implement ORVR based on NHTSA’s safety concerns. The automobile companies and NHTSA ultimately softened and eventually dropped their concerns about ORVR as a result of some technological improvements in prototype ORVR systems and a few relatively minor test procedure changes proposed by EPA. However, the public record was full of unsubstantiated allegations and concerns raised by NHTSA and the automobile companies. It was not possible for EPA to simply go forward with ORVR
without including measures to assure that the safety concerns would be addressed by the vehicle manufacturers during emissions certification of ORVR systems.8 Thus, in addition to the vehicle crashworthiness requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301 which NHTSA had first implemented in 1968 to assess fuel system integrity during vehicle crashes, EPA pointed to its authority and the requirements of sections 202(a)(4) and 206(a)(3) of the CAA as a legal basis to require further assessments by the manufacturers.9 Regulatory provisions implementing this authority were already in place in the Code of Federal Regulations: Section 86.084-5(b) states that emission control systems may not create unsafe conditions and section 86.091-23(d) requires that manufacturers certify to the requirements of section 86.084-5(b) as part of the emissions certification needed to introduce vehicles into commerce. To put some teeth in implementing these two regulatory provisions as part of the ORVR rule, EPA established a joint design review program with NHTSA. These requirements were implemented through a series of “Dear Manufacturer” letters in which EPA specified what information each manufacturer would be required to provide to EPA and NHTSA as part of the emissions certification application for each vehicle model.10 Each manufacturer was required to provide two key pieces of supporting information. First, was a requirement to submit a full description and schematic of the ORVR system together with detailed information on the physical and functional properties of the ORVR system and its components. Second, manufacturers were required to provide a summary document covering the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) which was used to evaluate all possible outcomes of an ORVR component or system failure plus a summary of the overall results of the FMEA. This information was required beginning for 1998
model year ORVR-equipped vehicles. In December 2003, after completion of the 2003 model year emissions certification cycle, NHTSA provided a request to EPA to withdraw from the review process.11 This request was based largely on their experience that the essentially all systems reviewed had been approved for certification and that ORVR systems installed on new vehicles since the 1998 model year had performed satisfactorily in use from a safety perspective. EPA concurred with NHTSA’s request, but kept the certification requirement in place through the 2006 model year.12 However, as more experience was gained by the manufacturers, EPA, and NHTSA, there were some modifications to the process to eliminate redundant submittals and reviews.13 NHTSA’s December 2003 letter mentioned the in-use safety performance of 1998-2003 model year ORVR-equipped vehicles as one reason for reducing its role in EPA certification safety reviews. As part of this report it is useful to consider the safety history of ORVR-equipped vehicles as evaluated by NHTSA. This history is documented in a searchable detailed on-line data base maintained by NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations.14 It includes complaints, technical service bulletins, and recalls for a myriad of different reasons. The database was queried for problems related to ORVR and refueling for model years 1998 through 2006. The results are presented below. First, NHTSA conducted seven investigations based on consumer complaints related to ORVR vehicles. All of these complaints pertained to concerns about refueling performance. Of these seven investigations, three were closed after preliminary evaluations by NHTSA staff, one was closed after further engineering analysis by NHTSA staff, and three were elevated to recall actions by either the manufacturer or NHTSA. Second, NHTSA requires manufacturers to report the issuance of internal
technical service bulletins to dealerships, as the number and scope of these are a measure of potential problems. There were only four manufacturer technical service bulletins related to servicing ORVR components issued for model year 1998-2006 vehicles. Finally, there were five vehicle recall actions related to ORVR systems. Of these, four were related to ORVR hardware which caused refueling performance problems and one was related to consumer technique for refueling ORVR systems with Stage II nozzles. Of the five recalls, three were triggered by the results of NHTSA investigations and two as a result of manufacturer in-use experience. According to the database, a total of about 399,000 vehicles were recalled. This was fewer than with evaporative systems. To demonstrate the relative magnitude of these problems it is useful to put them in context of the overall number of actions in the same categories in these years as derived from the database. As can be seen in the Table VII-1, the ORVR-related problems were an extremely small percentage of the totals in all three categories. The 399,000 vehicles recalled for ORVR problems represent less than 0.4 percent of all ORVR-equipped vehicles sold for model years 1998-2006.15 Table VII-1 ORVR NHTSA Safety Records Number Related to ORVR Total Number Reported in Components or Refueling Category 1998-2006 4 37713 7 7774 5 20791
Category Service Bulletins NHTSA Complaint Investigations Recalls
As is shown in Table VII-2 below, it can also be seen that the number model years affected by the actions in these categories diminished quickly as consumers and manufacturers gained experience with the newly required control systems. The figures in
Tables VII-1 and VII-2 do not correspond because actions documented in Table VII-1 often involve more than one model year of vehicle. Table VII-2 ORVR NHTSA Safety Records Timeline Category 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Service Bulletins 1 1 2 3 2 2 1 -NHTSA Investigations 4 4 1 2 -1 --Recalls 2 2 -2 2 ----
It is evident even from this analysis that the problems and concerns raised by NHTSA and the auto makers in the course of the ORVR rulemaking never materialized when ORVR was implemented. As discussed in Chapter V, the industry experience in implementing ORVR appears to be quite similar to that of implementing evaporative controls in the early 1970s. EPA’s projections appear to have been correct. Almost as a post-script to the entire process, in 2001 a General Motors engineer published an SAE paper stating that rear mounted ORVR canisters are extremely unlikely to produce an ignition following a crash and that the likelihood of ignition for front mounted canisters following a crash is also low. 16 There is also a very interesting implementation saga for Stage II with a number of important statutory provisions. Under section 182(b)(3) of the 1990 CAAA, Stage II was required in geographical areas which were classified as moderate, serious, severe, and extreme for noncompliance with the ozone NAAQS. These are collectively termed as nonattainment areas (NAA). Furthermore, section 184(a) required that Stage II be implemented in all portions of a multi-state area termed the ozone transport region (OTR). This included the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC and the northeast portion of Virginia adjacent to DC. These
states were required to implement Stage II in all areas, but under paragraph (b) could be relieved of implementing Stage II in moderate or lesser ozone problem areas if the states developed and adopted measures which would provide comparable reductions to that which Stage II would provide if implemented.17 Relying on EPA-mandated ORVR could not be used as a comparable reduction. Thus, even while the ORVR debate continued, many states were developing plans to implement Stage II; others delayed action. Some states delayed acting on Stage II, because under section 182(b)(3) of the CAAA which directed the implementation of Stage II in moderate or worse ozone NAAs, if EPA adopted ORVR, the mandate to implement Stage II in moderate NAAs was removed. Due to EPA’s short-lived decision not to require ORVR and the delay of EPA’s final decision, most states with moderate NAAs moved to implement Stage II in those areas.18 After ORVR was adopted by EPA in 1994, the remainder of the states acted, with several opting not to implement Stage II in moderate NAAs since it was not required by law. Furthermore, many states in the OTR limited Stage II to their serious or worse ozone NAAs and implemented comparable measures to capture the emission reductions that Stage II would have achieved in their moderate areas. Finally, section 202(a)(6) allows states which implemented ORVR under section 182(b)(3) to remove the Stage II requirement after ORVR is in widespread use. This provision which is significant in the longer term would have been moot without ORVR. Table VII-3 contains detailed information on the OTR states and those states with moderate ozone NAAs with regard to their actions related to Stage II.19 A total of 27 states and the District of Columbia are included. It lists the number of NAAs and the number of counties affected together with information on CAA-permitted service station
size exemptions and the percentage of state gasoline throughput affected by Stage II, including the effect of exemptions. (Size exemptions most commonly used are either <10,000 gal/mo for private stations with either <10,000 or <50,000 gal/mo for independents. These translate into exemption rates of 5.28 and 10 percent of throughput, respectively.)20 The table also includes three states (Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) which adopted Stage II measures in some urban areas even though this was not required and West Virginia and Michigan which elected not to adopt Stage II in their moderate NAAs because EPA adopted ORVR.21 Summary statistics drawn from Table VII-3 indicate that approximately 46 percent of national gasoline consumption occurs in areas which require Stage II and of this about 43 percent is dispensed through Stage II equipment. On a nationwide basis, about three percent of consumption is exempted. Moderate or worse ozone NAAs and the OTR, represent about 47 percent of nationwide fuel consumption. Of this, 46 percent occurs in areas with Stage II. This number is quite high because of the three states which voluntarily adopted Stage II. Overall control is 43 percent of nationwide consumption when the effect of exemptions and moderate NAAs without Stage II is included. In moderate or worse ozone NAAs and the OTR, 88 percent of gasoline is dispensed through Stage II vapor recovery equipment. This figure is important under CAA provisions which give EPA the authority to give states the option to remove Stage II when ORVR vehicles are in widespread use.
Table VII-3: Stage II Implementation by State 19 State Number of moderate % consumption or worse NAAs/ receiving Stage II counties with Stage II size exemptions Arizona 1/1 10 California 9/32 2 Connecticut* 2/all 5.28 Delaware* 1/all 5.28 Washington DC* 1 10 Florida 1/3 10 Georgia 1/13 10 Illinois 2/11 5.6 Indiana 2/4 10 Kentucky 3/6 7.8 Louisiana 1/6 10 Maine* 3/7 39.4 Maryland* 3/12 10 Massachusetts* 2/all 5.28 Michigan 2/9 -Missouri 1/5 5.28 Nevada** 2/2 5.28 New Hampshire* 2/4 10 New Jersey* 3/all 5.28 New York* 1/11 10 North Carolina 3/9 5.28 Ohio 3/16 10 Oregon** 1/3 5.28 Pennsylvania* 3/13 10 Rhode Island* 1/all 5.28 Tennessee 1/5 10 Texas 4/16 10 Utah 1/ 2 10 Virginia* 2/17 10 Vermont* 0/all 42.3 Washington** 2/4 5.28 West Virginia 3/5 -Wisconsin 4/9 5.28 NAA +OTR wtd avg exemption Total*** rate for NAA:6% US Total **** 55/***** wtd avg exemption rate total US: 3%
% state gas consumption covered (without/with Stage II size exemptions) 58/53.2 100 /98 100 /94.7 100/94.7 100/90 31.4/28.3 32/28.8 68.7/64.9 21.8/19.6 28.1/25.9 13.8/12.4 20.7/12.5 88/79.2 100/94.7 0/0 36.3/34.4 71/67.3 49.1/44.2 100/94.7 63.7/57.3 29/27.5 37.2/33.5 41/38.8 55/49.5 100/94.7 18.1/16.3 48.5/43.7 53.1/47.8 36.5/32.9 100/ 57.7 57.3/54.3 0/0 39.6/37.5 94/88 46/43
* OTR state, ** no moderate or worse NAAs when Stage II was implemented, *** based on all NAA fuel consumption and all OTR state fuel consumption covered by Stage II, **** based on Stage II controlled fuel consumption everywhere over national fuel consumption, *****numbers do not add because many NAAs involve parts of more than one state
The next and perhaps last major regulatory milestone is for EPA to act on the provision of section 202(a)(6) which allows EPA to permit the states which implemented ORVR under section 182(b)(3) to no longer require Stage II controls in moderate or worse ozone NAAs after EPA determines that ORVR control systems are in widespread use throughout the motor vehicle fleet. EPA has recently issued guidance indicating that if 95 percent of vehicles are ORVR-equipped, then states could consider ORVR to be in widespread use.22 However, this guidance was specifically limited to Stage II applications such as centrally fueled fleets (e.g., rental cars) and new vehicle manufacturing facilities. The broader issue of how to define “widespread use” with regard to the general motor vehicle fleet was acknowledged but not addressed. This issue has several facets to it, including the definition of widespread use, when it can be predicted to occur, and how it can be demonstrated and verified. There have been several discussions of ways to interpret widespread. In a document generated for public comment in August 2004, EPA indicated its initial preference to define widespread use as when VOC emissions with ORVR controls equal VOC emissions with Stage II only.23 This definition considers and compares emissions levels directly. Under this “widespread use” definition, there would only be one definition for all states but each state would determine at what point in time it achieved “widespread use” based on the characteristics of its vehicle fleet and its gasoline dispensing facilities. Implementing this definition requires information such as that found in Table VII-3 for Stage II as well as estimates of Stage II efficiency for balance and vacuum assist systems. For ORVR, this requires information on new vehicle sales, in-use vehicle fuel efficiency, vehicle scrappage rates and annual miles of travel by vehicle age, and ORVR in-use efficiency.
It is of interest to compare Stage II and ORVR implementation effectiveness as of the end of 2006. First with regard to Stage II, the data in Table VII-3 can be used along with previously released Stage II guidance and analyses to estimate its in-use efficiency. Table VII-4 provides percent consumption of gasoline consumption controlled by Stage II both nationwide and in moderate or worse ozone NAAs and the OTR with and without size exemptions. This is derived from Table VII-3. Table VII-4: Stage II In-Use Efficiency Expressed as % Consumption Covered NAA NAA w/ size Nationwide Nationwide exemptions w/exemptions % US gasoline 47 --100 --consumption % gasoline consumption in 94 88 46 43 area covered by Stage II In-use effectiveness 76 40 37 EPA guidance requires any Stage II equipment be certified to at least 95 percent efficiency and that the state require annual inspections.24 Annual inspections assure the proper installation, maintenance and repair of Stage II equipment. With annual inspections, EPA estimates Stage II control efficiency at 86 percent.25 As was mentioned above, ORVR in-use coverage and efficiency can be calculated using estimates of new vehicle sales, annual scrappage rates, and vehicle miles traveled per year. These were derived from information in tables in sources 2, 3, 4, 15, and 20 of the endnotes shown below. Fuel economy values were also needed and these were derived from EPA’s 2006 fuel economy trends report.26 With this information, the rule phase-in rates were used to mathematically calculate ORVR coverage since its implementation. Figure VII-1 compares Stage II and ORVR coverage for NAAs+OTR. Figure VII-2 compares Stage II and ORVR coverage for the nation as a whole.
Figure VII-1: ORVR vs. Stage II Nationwide
160000 Gasoline (millions of gallons) 140000 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Years of ORVR Control Nationwide ORVR StageII
Figure VII-2:ORVR vs. Stage II NAAs+OTR
70000 Gasoline (millions of gallons) 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Years of ORVR Control Nationwide Stage II ORVR
For NAA +OTR areas, the results in Table VII-4 indicate that ORVR would have to cover approximately 88 percent of consumption to approximately equal that of Stage II. Figure VII-1 indicates that as of the end of 2006, ORVR covered about 44 percent of consumption. On a nationwide basis, Table VII-4 shows that ORVR would have to cover approximately 43 percent of consumption to equal that of Stage II. Figure VII-2 indicates that as of the end of 2006, ORVR covered 44 percent of consumption. Thus, 98
after nine model years, including the completion of the phase-in periods, the in-use coverage of ORVR exceeds that of Stage II on a nationwide basis, but still falls short when only NAA+OTR areas are considered. Assuming a relatively steady state situation in terms of future growth in vehicle sales and fuel consumption, the analysis prepared for this report suggests that ORVR coverage in NAA+OTR areas would not exceed Stage II until 2013. This is consistent with an independent analysis prepared by the California Air Resources Board.27 EPA judged Stage II to have an in-use control effectiveness of 86 percent. The EPA RIA estimated ORVR to have an in-use effectiveness ranging from 96-97 percent for NAA and Stage II areas to 92 percent for the nation as a whole.28 The lower efficiency value for the nationwide assessment is due to the lack of Inspection/ Maintenance programs and the higher fuel volatility in many areas which are not classified as nonattainment for ozone. ORVR appears to be about 10 percentage points more effective than Stage II in NAAs and, if so, this could make the ORVR and Stage II NAA+OTR control system in-use effectiveness equal a year or two earlier than the 2013 based solely on consumption. One would also want to consider emissions factor estimates from spillage, UST vent emptying and breathing, and emissions related to the incompatibility vacuum-assist Stage II and ORVR-equipped vehicles. While there is a considerable body of information on these topics EPA has not yet established emission factors related to how these change with Stage II equipment at service stations and ORVR vehicles. A quick assessment of the literature indicates that spillage is lower with ORVR vehicles due to the EPA refueling spit back standard while vent emissions are
lower for Stage II because the gasoline vapors returned to the UST suppress further evaporation. However, these factors were not included. Thirteen years after EPA’s final rule to require ORVR in lieu of nationwide Stage II, EPA’s judgment in the original 1987 proposal rulemaking seems to be affirmed by inuse experience. The original position of API, that ORVR would be more cost efficient relative to Stage II and could control more hydrocarbon emissions, is also supported by in-use experience. Safety concerns persistently raised by NHTSA and the automobile industry have not manifest in significant numbers on the nation’s roadways, with only 399,000 cars, 0.4 percent of the total vehicles equipped with ORVR technology, being recalled. Why did it take EPA twenty-one years to promulgate a final rule controlling automobile refueling emissions? Constant battling between the oil and automobile industries to force the regulatory burden on the other was without a doubt the predominant problem. Both industries employed a wide arsenal of human and material resources to influence EPA’s decision and slow the rulemaking process, and in some instances this effort met with great success. Yet full blame for the long duration of the rulemaking process cannot be placed on the industrial giants alone. Politicians in the Legislative and Executive branch, such as Congressman Dingell of Michigan and President George H.W. Bush, chose to become involved in the public policy process on behalf of their constituencies on several occasions, and this interference had a decisive impact on the direction and duration of the rulemaking process. Left to itself, EPA probably would have passed final ORVR regulations in the early 1980’s, as it had intended to do in 1979 before the election of President Reagan.
When judging the conduct of the oil and automobile industries in the automobile refueling emissions controversy it must be remembered that both industries had a large financial stake in the outcome of the rulemaking process. EPA’s draft RIA for it proposed rulemaking gives an idea of the size of their interests.29 ORVR cost about $10 per vehicle. Assuming 15 million vehicles per year, a delay of even 10 years, saved the industry as a whole over $1.5 billion. Stage II has cost service stations where it has been applied $0.005 per gallon sold. Assuming 100 billion gallons of gasoline per year, a ten year delay would save the industry over $5 billion dollars if Stage II would have been implemented nationwide and about $2.3 billion in the NAAs assuming that the NAAs represented 46 percent of control as discussed in Table VII-4 above. The contribution of the industrial giants was not wholly negative. Although both industries sought to influence the outcome of EPA’s analysis, they pushed and improved the technology which led to more efficient and less costly approaches. Information provided by this work contributed substantially to EPA’s analysis. The final result of the efforts of the oil and automobile industry to place the regulatory burden solely on the other industry was to delay a final ruling until Democrats, traditionally more responsive than Republicans to the environmental interests, controlled both the Legislative and Executive branches. Had the two industries come together and agreed to an arrangement regarding the regulation, rather than battle each other, the final outcome likely would have been better for both industrial sectors. The delay resulted in Stage II plus ORVR rather that Stage II or ORVR. The state governments which struggled to meet CAA requirements throughout the 1980’s and environmental and public interest groups may also have benefited from such an outcome.
This same ten year delay resulted in about five million tons of foregone refueling emissions control.29 The final ruling promulgated by EPA has dramatically reduced hydrocarbon emissions and EPA continues to work to reduce air pollutant levels. Whenever proposed environmental regulations come at the expense of an industry, it can be expected that agents representing that industry will make a case for protecting its economic interests. As economic growth continues in the United States, and new industrial technology enhances productivity, thereby improving quality of life for Americans, new environmental problems will simultaneously arise as the actions of industry respond to changing technological possibilities. Balancing the concerns of industry, politics and the environment will undoubtedly pose an ongoing problem for EPA, and American society, to resolve throughout the next century. It is hoped, however, that future public policy issues can be resolved more swiftly and less arduously than was the automobile refueling emissions controversy.
Endnotes 1. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, January 1994, vii. 2. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, January 1994, 3-6. 3. Federal Register, Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Tier 2 Motor Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gasoline Sulfur Control Requirements: Final Rule, February 10, 2000, 6698. 4. Federal Register, Control of Emissions from 2004 and Later Model Year Highway Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles; Revision of Light-Duty Onboard Diagnostics Requirements, October, 6, 2000, 59895. 5. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, January 1994, 3-6. 6. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, January 1994, 5-16. 7. California Administrative Code, Title 13, Section 1978, Standards and Test Procedures for Vehicle Refueling Emissions, June, 1996. 8. Federal Register, Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles and New Motor Vehicle Engines; Refueling Emission Regulations for Light-Duty Vehicles and Light-Duty Trucks; Final Rule, April 6, 1994, 16262. 9. Federal Register, Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles and New Motor Vehicle Engines; Refueling Emission Regulations for Light-Duty Vehicles and Light-Duty Trucks; Final Rule, April 6, 1994, 16275. 10. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997, Certification of 98MY and Later ORVR Vehicles VPCD 97-02, Ann Arbor, MI. 11. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003, Washington, DC. 12. Environmental Protection Agency, 2004, Washington, DC. 13. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005, Update for ORVR Safety Applications, CCD 05-03, Ann Arbor, MI. 14. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Defect Investigations, http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/recallsearch.cfm. 15. Automotive News, “2006 Market Data Book”, Automotive News, May 2007, page 40. 16. Jorgensen, Scott, 2001, Evaluation of the Ignition Hazard Posed by Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery Canisters, SAE Technical Paper Series, 2001-01-0731. 17. Environmental Protection Agency, Stage II Comparability Study for the Northeast Ozone Transport Region, January 1995, EPA-452/R-94-011. 18. Environmental Protection Agency, Impact of the Recent Onboard Decision on Stage II Requirements in Moderate Nonattainment Areas, 1993, Research Triangle Park, NC.
19. Environmental Protection Agency, Technical Guidance – Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems for Control of Vehicle Refueling Emissions at Gasoline Dispensing Facilities Volume I, November, 1991, EPA-450/3-91-022a. 20. Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of Air Pollution Regulatory Strategies for Gasoline Marketing Industry, 1984, Washington, DC, EPA-450/384-012a. 21. Environmental Protection Agency, National Stage II Vapor Recovery Conference, Stage II Status Summary, 1995, Denver, CO. 22. Environmental Protection Agency, Removal of Stage II Vapor Recovery in Situations Where Widespread Use of Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery is Demonstrated, 2006, Research Triangle Park, NC. 23. Environmental Protection Agency, Stage II Vapor Recovery Issues Paper, 2004, Research Triangle Park, NC. 24. Environmental Protection Agency, Enforcement Guidance for Stage II Vehicle Control Programs, 1991, Washington, DC. 25. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis: Proposed Refueling Emission Regulations for Gasoline Fueled Motor Vehicles – Volume I, 1987, Washington, DC, EPA-450/3-87-001a. 26. Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2006, Appendix G, 2006, Ann Arbor, MI, EPA 420-R-06-011. 27. California Air Resources Board, Updated ORVR Penetration Calculations, 2006, Sacramento, CA. 28. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis: Refueling Emission Regulations for Light Duty Vehicles and Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, January 1994, 4-16, 17. 29. Environmental Protection Agency, Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis: Proposed Refueling Emission Regulations for Gasoline Fueled Motor Vehicles – Volume I, 1987, Washington, DC, EPA-450/3-87-001a.
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