FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2017) — Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely has formally requested approval from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to opt out of the federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) program in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties of Kentucky.
Modeling by Cabinet environmental scientists, completed in July, showed that removal of RFG in Northern Kentucky will not interfere with the ability of the area to maintain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The EPA recently has given preliminary approval to the Cabinet’s modeling and will make a final determination as early as 2018. Last spring, EPA approved a similar request from Cincinnati.
“Our modeling demonstrated that there is no significant benefit to keeping the reformulated gasoline in this area,” Secretary Charles Snavely said. “So it makes economic and environmental sense to petition the EPA to replace it with conventional gasoline.”
Reformulated gas was introduced into the region in 1995, when former Governor Brereton Jones issued an executive order to opt into the federal RFG program. Since then, emissions of ozone precursors, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have steadily declined in the Northern Kentucky area, and the area has complied with the standard since August 5, 2010.
During the public comment period that ended August 24, 2017, the Cabinet received letters of support from the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, as well as businesses including the United Parcel Service. The chamber has suggested the area could save $41 million per year by switching gasolines.
“The U.S. EPA recognizes that RFG and conventional gasoline are now essentially the same,” said Brent Cooper, Northern Kentucky Chamber, President and CEO. “Removal of the RFG program will provide a significant economic benefit to NKY… A motorist who drives 15,000 miles per year, with a vehicle that gets 15 miles per gallon will save $220 per year when RFG is eliminated.”
During the public comment period, the Cabinet received only letters in support of discontinuing the RFG requirement. Commenters noted that advances in conventional gasoline and vehicle technology have reduced emissions and made RFG unnecessary. Others noted that Northern Kentucky motorists now pay an average of 22 cents more per gallon for the reformulated fuel than for conventional gasoline available across the river in Ohio.