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Gasoline Standards

Learn about Gasoline

Overview

EPA’s gasoline standards programs are designed to address ground level ozone or “smog” and to reduce toxic emissions from the fuel burned in cars and trucks. Smog threatens the health of millions of Americans each year, and is particularly dangerous to children and individuals with respiratory problems. As a result of EPA’s regulatory programs and various state regulations, gasoline sold today in the U.S. is far cleaner than gasoline produced in previous decades.

Almost all of the gasoline supplied in the U.S. today contains 10 percent ethanol.  Ethanol that meets certain requirements can be considered a renewable fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Learn more about the Renewable Fuel Standard Program

Programs and Pollutants

Below is a simple chart that outlines the gasoline programs that EPA implements highlighting the pollutants that are reduced because of these programs. 

Regulatory Program Overview Pollutants Addressed

Sulfur Content in Gasoline 

Limits the sulfur content in gasoline which allows for cleaner burning fuel and use of advanced emissions control technologies in cars and trucks.

This program is implemented at the federal level.

Smog (ground level ozone) and particulate matter.

Air Toxics Standards for Gasoline

Limits the content of toxic chemicals in gasoline. 

This program is implemented at the federal level.

Benzene and other hydrocarbons such as 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and naphthalene.

Reformulated Gasoline (RFG)

This standard requires use of gasoline that meets more stringent specifications resulting in cleaner burning fuel which reduces emissions of the pollutants that contribute to ground level ozone and particulate matter pollution.

This program is implemented at the state and local level with federal oversight by EPA.
Smog (ground level ozone) and particulate matter

Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP)

This gasoline standard requires use of specially formulated gasoline that evaporates less at higher temperatures than regular gasoline.  This reduces emissions of the volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons that result in higher levels of ground level ozone, in the hot summer months.

This program is implemented at the state and local level with federal oversight by EPA.
Smog (ground level ozone)

Winter Oxygenates

This program mandates addition of oxygenates to gasoline in the winter which reduces inefficient combustion of fuel during cold weather which can result in higher emissions of carbon monoxide.

This program is implemented at the state and local level with federal oversight by EPA.
Carbon monoxide (CO)