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EPA proposes to approve Arizona's modified Cleaner Burning Gasoline program

Release Date: 9/8/2003
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to approve Arizona's revised clean air plan that modifies its Cleaner Burning Gasoline program and begins a 30-day comment period.

The revision affects fuel requirements for gasoline distributed in the Phoenix area and small portions of Pinal and Yavapai counties. Cars, trucks and buses cause about 50 percent of the Valley's smog.

Under the revised plan, the wintertime oxygenated fuels program will change so that only fuel similar to California's fuel -- a cleaner type of gasoline -- is sold during the winter months. Ethanol will also be required in all wintertime fuel, and a minimum oxygen content will no longer be required in summertime fuel. The EPA's action and the state's submittal do not ban the use of MTBE in Arizona.

"The Cleaner Burning Gasoline program has been proven effective here and across the country," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Arizona's proposed changes will enable Phoenix residents to breathe easier now and in the years to come."

Arizona's Cleaner Burning Gasoline, a program chosen by the state to improve air quality, has helped the metropolitan Phoenix area meet ozone and carbon monoxide air quality standards. The area has been reporting clean data for the pollutants for more than six years and can be redesignated to attainment after the EPA receives and approves maintenance plans that the state must submit for each pollutant.

Ground-level ozone irritates nose, throat and lungs and can also damage lung tissue making it harder to breathe. Additionally, it may cause coughing, headaches, nausea, as well as, premature aging of lung tissue.

Carbon monoxide, an odorless but highly toxic gas emitted in motor vehicle exhaust, reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen. It harms the nervous system and is particularly hazardous to people with heart, circulatory, lung, or breathing problems.

Some people are particularly affected, including children who are active outdoors, outdoor workers, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Please send comments to or mail to Wienke Tax, U.S. EPA, Air Division, 75 Hawthorne Street (AIR-2), San Francisco, CA 94105-3901.