TUCSON, Ariz. -- State lawmakers refused Wednesday to force more than 250 gas stations in the Tucson area to install special equipment to recapture vapors, reported The Arizona Daily Star.
The 7 to 2 vote by the House Environment Committee came after representatives of both the petroleum industry and station owners said they should not be forced to spend upwards of $88,000 for equipment that may or may not make any real difference in air quality, said the report.
Wednesday's vote came over the objections of State Representative Steve Farley (D). He insisted that the cost was no more than $12,000. And Farley claimed station owners would actually recoup that within months: They could recondense the collected gasoline vapors and sell them to other motorists.
Stations in much of Maricopa County already are outfitted with the nozzles to comply with mandates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the report said. But Pima County, which does not have the same ozone pollution problem, is under no such orders.
We should install these systems now to keep our air from getting dirty in the first place, Farley said.
But Susie Stevens, lobbyist for Western States Petroleum Association, pointed out that the EPA now requires new cars and trucks to include their own vapor recovery systems.
According to the newspaper, State Rep. Sam Crump (R) said his own research shows him the EPA believes this type of pump nozzle will no longer be required in most communities after 2010. Crump said he sees no reason to force station owners to make that kind of investment now.
I'm not convinced the 2010 date is real, responded State Rep. Theresa Ulmer (D). And Ulmer said she also does not believe that enough Arizonans will trade in their older vehicles to make a real difference in ozone pollution.
Farley said it is wrong to think of the mandate as a cost. He said a station that sells 150,000 gallons a month at $2.50 a gallon would be able to recoup $8,100 a month by selling the recovered reconstituted vapors. But State Rep. Andy Tobin (R) said if station owners really could recoup their investment that quickly they would have installed the devices already, without a government mandate.
Farley said no one station owner wants to incur the upfront costsand the the possible two-cents-a-gallon cost hike to finance itif competitors do not do the same, the report said.