Ohio's move away from coal could save you money at the pump

Updated: Apr. 20, 2017 at 2:52 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ohioans could be saving money at the pump this summer after the state was approved to abandon season-specific gasoline.

Parts of the state have moved away from coal energy to cleaner and cheaper natural gas, off-setting the pollution normal gasoline causes. Now, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has approved to move away from summer-specific fuel that have cost drivers more than the pump for years.

On Thursday, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, R, and Director of the Ohio EPA Craig Butler announced the state will move away from gasoline that is more environmentally safe in the summer after years of the state moving away from coal. According to the EPA, the state successfully reducing its carbon footprint by moving to natural gas offsets the pollution from regular gasoline.

In the past decade, oil companies made the switch to summer-grade gasoline, a blend of fuel with a lower volatility to limit evaporation. It costs refiners more cents per gallon to produce, upping the costs of filling up during summer in some parts of the country.

The federal government mandated summer gasoline be in circulation during summer ozone season which goes from June 1 to September 15 to combat evaporative emissions that contribute to ozone-related health risks, smog and environmental damage.

Volatility is measured based on how easily gasoline (or any liquid) changes into vapor. For gasoline, it is measured in Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). The higher the RVP, the more prone gasoline is to evaporate.

Areas highlighted in green are required to use an even more expensive gasoline than typical summer-blends. Brown are states with self-imposed rules more strict than federal law. Provided, U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

Low RVP fuel became part of the Ohio EPA's requirements a decade ago in an effort to meet national air quality standards. Shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration, the Ohio EPA took a public hearing to ax the rules.

However, the move to reduce regulations is not strictly trickling down from the federal government. Parts of Ohio including Wright Patterson Airforce Base moving away from coal energy, offsets the pollution cause by gasoline that is prone to evaporation, according to Dina Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA.

After consistently failing to meet air quality requirements, southwestern Ohio had to use a summer blend cleaner than the statewide mandate, meaning fuel costs in the Cincinnati area were typically higher than in Cleveland and Columbus in the summer. Being a sunnier region of the state, gasoline is more prone to evaporation in the southwest region.

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