Local gas stations can’t keep up with state mandate | SierraSun.com

Local gas stations can’t keep up with state mandate

Luke Beasley
Sierra Sun

SACRAMENTO ” State Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, recently introduced State Bill 507, which would give California gas stations an extra year to update gas-dispensing nozzles to satisfy a California Air Resources Board mandate.

The state is requiring that by April 1, pumps capture 98 percent of vapor emissions rather than the old standard of 95 percent.

“When I talk to people who own gas stations, they recognize that unless something is done about this deadline, we could possibly put 6,000 service stations out of business in the state of California,” Cox said. “It’s an April 1 deadline, and quite frankly, I think it’d be a very cruel April Fool’s joke.”

Cox said that, in this slumping economy, the current compliance deadline is unfair because of how expensive the replacement work is, which he said varies from $11,000 to $17,000 per pump.

“Some people will make the argument that people have known about this requirement for the last seven, eight, nine years,” Cox said, “but we’ve simply caught people in a time of recession right now.”

Jean-Paul Agoni, owner of the Truckee Beacon, agrees and hopes an extension comes to fruition. The Beacon is yet to install the new pumps.

“It’s an expensive thing, especially with only one manufacturer making the part, so there’s no competition, and the price is high,” Agoni said. “An extension would be nice.”

Cox also questioned whether the 3 percent increase in emissions controls was worth the financial burden placed on gas stations, many of which are small businesses without a great deal of financial liquidity.

“I’m all for clean air, but there are some things that are just beyond common sense,” Cox said. “Sometimes government gets ahead of itself, and I think this is one of those times where we need to catch ourselves.”

Though the goal of the CARB requirement is to minimize emissions and create cleaner air, Cox argues that if many stations were forced to close, drivers may have to travel further for fill-ups, thus canceling out any improvement gained by more secure nozzles.

Most other local stations, according to Donner Park 76’s assistant manager A.J. Manning, have recently finished updating their pumps. Still, Manning supports the extension.

“We’re getting the last of our work completed today,” Manning said, “but based on the economic times, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people to get that extension. It’s an expensive process … cost us about $80,000.”