If you've ever purchased gas in Phoenix then you have probably noticed those cumbersome rubber collars that are on the nozzles. These seals came into widespread use in 1993 to help reduce pollution per the federal Clean Air Act requirements. Phoenix has had an unacceptable level of air pollution for years that does not meet federal ozone level standards. These ‘vapor recovery' nozzle covers are a method for reducing the amount of fuel vapors that are released into the air when gas is pumped. The plunger-looking rubber cap is built to vacuum these vapors and transport them to an underground holding tank that all gas stations in Phoenix are required to have. It may seem counter-productive to improving air quality to remove them. Newer vehicles, however, have their own built-in mechanisms that catch the gas vapors and keep them from entering the atmosphere based on automakers' own federal air-quality regulations. These systems in vehicles and on the gas pump are redundant. Not only are they repetitive, but the systems in some vehicles compete with the rubber nozzle covers and ultimately causes both to be ineffective. As a result, the Maricopa Association of Governments has asked the EPA to let Phoenix gas stations remove the nozzles. The plan is now in place for their removal beginning in October 2016 and finish by September 2018. This will initially be an expense for the companies but, as the underground holding tanks will no longer be necessary, over time companies will ultimately save money.
Jay Ciulla is a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.