EPA easing fuel regulations could result in savings for Northern Kentucky motorists

04/04/2018 02:01 PM

COVINGTON – Consumers will pay less for gasoline in Northern Kentucky beginning July 1 thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to approve Kentucky’s revision to the State Implementation Plan to eliminate reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirements for Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

Northern Kentucky has been required to use RFG since 1995 after Kentucky voluntarily opted into the federal RFG program to meet Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements.

Last year, the Kentucky Division for Air Quality evaluated the potential impact of removing RFG in the area, and the agency found the removal of the requirements would not interfere with the attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards for ozone.

The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) submitted a State Implication Plan (SIP) revision to remove the RFG requirements for the Northern Kentucky area and demonstrated to the EPA that the revision would not interfere with the attainment and reasonable further progress of any current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association President Brian Clark said the change has come about due to modern improvements in gasoline, cars and advances in environmental studies.

“Certainly engines have improved, fuel qualities have improved as well, the technology, and of course, the regions work as well to maintain its air quality,” Clark said.

Steve Harper, president of Harper Oil Products, says that a number of factors led to the higher price of reformulated gasoline.

“Our area was faced with selling three types of gasoline, reformulated gas, the low RPP gas in Ohio, and in the surrounding counties to the metropolitan area, conventional gasoline,” Harper said. “Being in the petroleum distribution business, it became very apparent to me that the cost to manufacture this gasoline really had a small part to what we were paying because every time you run out of a grade of gasoline, it makes the price go up. When you’re trying to supply three different types of gasoline into a distribution system that was designed for just one type, somethings going to run out.”

Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, who has been active in working to get the RPP restriction for the region lifted, pointed out two important ramifications of the EPA’s actions.

“One, we’re maintaining our environmental clean air standards which we have met which is why we no longer need RFG, and two, this will translate to prices at the pump which we should all be more pleased with,” St. Onge said. “The cost of production to RFG is much higher, so one could make that leap to gas pump prices being lower.”

Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, who has chaired the Environment Energy and Land Use Committee at NACo (National Association of Counties) the last 2 years, and testified before Congress on air quality in May of 2015, said that the announcement was a good thing for the region.

“Today’s announcement, with the elimination of RFG will be a huge boost to our economic development efforts,” Moore said. “It does play in so many ways, into everyday life in northern Kentucky. I also know that there are people who wait until they get down to Sadieville or Carrollton tog as up because those are areas to the south that did not have RFG and therefore would be a little less at the pump.”

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, feels that while RFG served its purpose, improvements in a number of areas made the product obsolete and unnecessary.

“Too often in government, we leave things the way that they are just because that’s the way it’s always been,” Koenig said. “We have new data, we have new information, and we should look at that to make sure what’s happening is in the best interest of the citizens, and this is what was done.”

Officials say it’s hard to estimate exactly how much motorists will save at the pump when the RFG regulation is lifted on July 1, but a good guess would be around 10 cents per gallon.

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