EPA Approves Request from Alabama
                  to Relax the Summer Gasoline
                  Volatility  Standard  for the
                  Birmingham Area
                      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a
                      direct final rule to relax the federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP)
                  standard applicable to gasoline introduced into commerce in Jeffer-
                  son and Shelby counties, Alabama ("the Birmingham area"). This
                  change applies during the summer ozone season which runs from
                  June 1 to September 15 of each year. This action amends our regula-
                  tions to relax the summer ozone season RVP gasoline standard for
                  the Birmingham area from 7.8 pounds per square inch (psi) to 9.0
                  psi. The state of Alabama's request demonstrates that this change
                  would not interfere with maintenance of the applicable national
                  ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) in the Birmingham area or
                  with any other applicable requirement of the Clean Air Act.

                  Key Elements of the Direct Final Rule
                       This rule relaxes the volatility requirements for gasoline sold in the Bir-
                       mingham area as described above, during the summer ozone season which
                       runs from June 1 to September 15 of each year. Specifically, this rulemaking
                       amends the federal RVP gasoline standard for the Birmingham area from 7.8
                       psi to 9.0 psi provided at 40 CFR 80.27(a)(2).

                       This rulemaking is based on the EPA's previous approval of Alabama's
                       state implementation plan (SIP) revision. The SIP revision demonstrated
                       that relaxing the federal RVP gasoline requirement from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi
                       during the summer ozone season in the Birmingham area would not inter-
                       fere with continued maintenance of the 1997 ozone NAAQS or any other
                       applicable NAAQS, including the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Alabama submitted
&EPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
                EPA-420-F-15-014
                      May 2015

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       the SIP revision with the noninterference demonstration to the EPA on November 14,
       2014. The EPA approved the SIP revision on April 17, 2015 (80 FR 21170).

       Relaxing the volatility requirements for gasoline sold in the Birmingham area is benefi'
       cial because this action will improve the fungibility of gasoline in the Birmingham area.
       In other words, when this rule becomes effective, the gasoline sold in the Birmingham
       area will be identical to the fuel sold now in the rest of Alabama. For motorists, the
       change in summertime gasoline volatility specifications will be virtually unnoticed.
Background
In 1987, the EPA determined that gasoline nationwide had become increasingly volatile, causing
an increase in evaporative emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment. Evapora-
tive emissions from gasoline, referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are precursors
to the formation of tropospheric ozone and contribute to the nation's ground-level ozone
problem. Ground-level ozone causes health problems, including damaged lung tissue, reduced
lung function, and lung sensitization to other pollutants.

The most common measure of fuel volatility is RVP To provide for cleaner air and greater public
health protection, the EPA enforces maximum limits on the RVP of gasoline sold during the
summer ozone season which runs from June 1 to September 15  of each year. Specifically, the
EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 80.27(a)(2) establish maximum RVP standards of 9.0 psi or 7.8 psi
depending on the state, the month, and the area's initial ozone designation with respect to the
ozone NAAQS during the summer ozone season.

In order to relax the applicable federal RVP standard in an area where the more stringent federal
RVP of 7.8 psi is required, an area must be designated as (or redesignated to) attainment. The
area must also submit a maintenance plan demonstrating continued attainment of the ozone
NAAQS with the less stringent RVP standard in place.

The Birmingham area has an approved 10-year maintenance plan for the 1997 ozone NAAQS
and is designated as unclassifiable/attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As described above,
the Birmingham area has demonstrated that it will continue to attain the ozone NAAQS, and
any other applicable NAAQS, after the RVP standard has been relaxed from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi
during the summer ozone season.
For More Information
You can access the rule and related documents on the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air
Quality Web site at:

          www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/gasolinefuels/volatility/index.htm

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For further information on this direct final rule, please contact:

          Patty Klavon
          U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
          Office of Transportation and Air Quality
          2000 Traverwood Drive
          Ann Arbor, MI48105
          734-214-4476
          E-mail:  klavon.patty@epa.gov

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