EPA Approves Request from North
                  Carolina to Relax the Summer
                  Gasoline Volatility Standard for
                  Mecklenburg and  Gaston Counties
                      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a
                      rule to relax the federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard
                  applicable to gasoline sold in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties, North
                  Carolina. The two counties are part of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Salis*
                  bury, North Carolina maintenance area ("the Charlotte area") for the
                  2008 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). This
                  change applies during the summer ozone season which runs from June
                  1 to September 15 of each year. This action amends our regulations
                  to relax the summer ozone season RVP gasoline standard for Meck-
                  lenburg and Gaston counties from 7.8 pounds per square inch (psi) to
                  9.0 psi. Gasoline with RVP of 9.0 psi is already sold in the remaining
                  Charlotte area counties. North Carolina's request demonstrates that
                  this change would not interfere with maintenance of the applicable
                  NAAQS in the Charlotte area or with any other applicable require-
                  ment of the Clean Air Act.

                  Key Elements of the Direct Final Rule

                       Once effective, this rule relaxes the volatility requirements for gasoline sold
                       in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties, 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 two counties
                       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 North Carolina's
                       redesignation request and maintenance plan for the Charlotte area. The
                       non-interference demonstration that accompanied the redesignation request
SEPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
                EPA-420-F-15-017
                    August 2015

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       and maintenance plan demonstrated that relaxing the federal RVP gasoline requirement
       from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi during the summer ozone season in the Charlotte area would not
       interfere with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS, or with any other applicable
       Clean Air Act requirements,

       North Carolina submitted the redesignation request and maintenance plan with the
       non-interference demonstration to the EPA on March 11, 2015. The EPA approved the
       redesignation request and maintenance plan on July 28, 2015 (80 FR 44873). The EPA
       also approved the non-interference demonstration on July 28, 2015 (80 FR 44868),

       This rulemaking removes the obligation to sell gasoline with an RVP of 7.8 psi in
       Mecklenburg and Gaston counties during the summer ozone season. Once effective and
       implemented, this rule would improve the fungibility of gasoline sold in North Carolina
       since the gasoline sold in the two North Carolina counties will be identical to the fuel
       sold now in the rest of the state. For motorists, the change in summertime gasoline vola-
       tility specifications would 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, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contribute to ground-level
ozone. 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 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.

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.

For the Charlotte area, the state has approved 10-year maintenance plans for the 1997 ozone
NAAQS and the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As described above, North Carolina has demonstrated
that it will continue to attain the ozone NAAQS, and any other applicable NAAQS, after the
RVP standard for Mecklenburg and Gaston counties has been relaxed from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi dur-
ing the summer ozone season.

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            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

            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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