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Chevron Violates Air Rules, Pays $422,500

Chevron logoChevron has paid $422,500 in penalties for supplying gasoline and diesel fuel in violation of California air quality regulations.

Chevron agreed to pay the penalties as part of three separate settlements it reached with the California Air Resources Board (ARB).

In all, 15.9 million gallons of fuel were in violation of state regulations. In two cases, Chevron disclosed the violations. In the third, ARB enforcement staff discovered the violation as a result of routine fuel sampling.

Chevron paid $205,000 for supplying more than 385,000 gallons of gasoline in violation of California reformulated gasoline regulations between mid-June 2009 and Aug. 1, 2009, ARB says. Dispensed from Chevron terminals in Sacramento and San Jose, the fuel did not contain adequate amounts of ethanol.

The company also paid $192,500 for supplying more than 15.5 million gallons of gasoline in violation of the state’s reformulated gasoline regulations. Analysis of gasoline samples indicated olefin levels exceeded certain required specifications. Higher levels of olefin mean more smog will be formed from tailpipe emissions since hydrocarbons, including olefin, react with sunlight and other pollutants to form smog. Chevron was notified by ARB of the violation, and took immediate steps to find and rectify the cause to prevent future occurrences.

In the third case, Chevron paid $25,000 in penalties for supplying and selling more than 36,000 gallons of diesel fuel in August 2009 that did not meet a required minimum cetane number, according to ARB.

The cetane number indicates the combustion quality of a diesel fuel, and how likely it is to create excess hydrocarbon emissions. When the cetane number is too low, unburned hydrocarbons, which lead to smog, tend to increase.

In California, motor vehicles are the main source of smog-forming pollution and diesel exhaust accounts for 70 percent of Californians’ daily exposure to air toxics, ARB says. Mobile sources account for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California and more than half of the emissions that contribute to ozone and particulate matter, tiny particles that can lodge deep in the lungs and increase the risk of health problems.

ARB fined ExxonMobil, Pacific Gas & Electric and seven other companies last week for violating the state’s mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule. That rule requires facilities, including those covered by California’s cap-and-trade regulation, to report their GHGs annually.

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