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
                      final rule to relax the federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard
                  applicable to gasoline introduced into commerce in Jefferson and Shel-
                  by counties, Alabama ("the Birmingham area")* This change applies
                  during the summer ozone season which runs from June 1 to Septem-
                  ber 15 of each year. This action amends our regulations 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 Ala-
                  bama'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 Final Rule
                       This rule relaxes the volatility requirements for gasoline sold in the Birming'
                        ham 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 interfere with
                        continued maintenance of the 1997 ozone NAAQS or any other applicable
                        NAAQS, including the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Alabama submitted the SIP
4>EPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
               EPA-420-F-15-014a
                     June 2015

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       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 beneficial
       because this action will improve the fungibility of gasoline in the Birmingham area. In
       other words, when this rule becomes effective and is implemented, the gasoline sold in
       the Birmingham area will be identical to the fuel sold now in the rest of Alabama. For
       motorists, the change, once implemented, 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. Evaporative
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 lO-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 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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