Transitional and General Opt-out Procedures for Phase II Reformulated Gasoline
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a final rule today to provide revised time periods for states with voluntary reformulated gasoline (RFG) programs to withdraw or opt-out areas from the program. The purpose of today’s rule is to help ensure a smooth transition from Phase I (ending 1999) to Phase II RFG (beginning in the year 2000).
Under the rule, states that do not choose to opt-out by December 31, 1997 will be required to participate in Phase II RFG until December 31, 2003.
Today’s action achieves a balance between the interests of the states and industry. It maintains the states’ flexibility of choosing other control measures to reduce ozone levels while providing refiners with a degree of market certainty (i.e., a stable RFG market to make necessary investment decisions) and the opportunity to recover a substantial portion of their capital investment.
This final rule applies to ozone nonattainment areas (i.e., areas with ozone or “smog” problems) where the state voluntarily opted into the program and subsequently decides to withdraw from the RFG program to use other air quality control measures, if needed. Today’s action does not affect the policies for opting into the RFG program.