Starting this month, gas station attendants in the state of Oregon are not allowed to overfill gas tanks because of new state Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations, Illinois Valley News reported.
The ban on “topping off,” or continuing to fill a gas tank after the nozzle clicks off, is being instituted in an effort to decrease benzene and other toxic air pollutants from contaminating the air at gas stations and other gasoline storage and dispensing facilities.
Topping off the tank does not put more gas in the tank as some drivers believe, but it can cause gasoline to spill and release benzene-a known carcinogen-and other toxic air pollutants into the air, according to the DEQ.
“This is a health concern for gas station workers and drivers. In addition, most modern pumps simply return the fuel back into the pump after the overflow click, which means drivers are paying for gas that does not get into the fuel tank,” according to the DEQ. “In some cases, overfilling a gas tank can cause a vehicle’s vapor control system to clog and stop working, which can require costly repairs.”
The Environmental Quality Commission, DEQ’s rule-making and policy advisory board, approved and adopted the no topping off regulations in December 2008. The new rules require all larger Oregon gasoline storage and distribution facilities, which dispense an average of 40,000 gallons per month or more, to use vapor capture controls.
DEQ’s regulations follow an Environmental Protection Agency rule-making last year that tightened air quality regulations for fuel-dispensing facilities nationwide.
Oregon’s tougher standards go beyond the federal rules to reduce benzene by about 28 tons per year and volatile organic compounds by an estimated 1,610 tons per year.
The federal standard applies only to facilities that dispense 100,000 gallons per month, and does not address topping off at the pump.