COUNTY EXECUTIVE FALK, MAYOR CIESLEWICZ AND U.S. EPA ANNOUNCE “GREEN GAS STATION” CLEAN AIR INITIATIVE
August 17, 2006
Dave Merritt, Project Coordinator (608) 266-9063
A one-of-a-kind $50,000 federal grant has been awarded to Dane County for a pilot project aimed at saving gasoline while protecting the air from ozone pollution, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the Dane County Clean Air Coalition announced today.
The Air Innovations Grant, awarded nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will fund the “Green Gas Station” clean air project that uses a cutting-edge technology known as the OPW Vaporsaver System.
Constructed to stop harmful, ozone-causing gasoline vapors from escaping into the air, the Vaporsaver returns the vapors to the underground gasoline storage tanks as valuable fuel. OPW, the company that manufactures the Vaporsaver, estimates a station pumping 200,000 gallons of gasoline per month may save nearly 500 gallons of gasoline each month.
With gasoline prices hovering around $3 per gallon, Falk said storeowners could save $18,000 per year while the environment saves tons of air pollution.
“If every gas station in Dane County had a Vaporsaver, 440,000 gallons of gas per year would be prevented from evaporating into thin air and the air would be saved 1,350 tons of smog-forming pollutants,” Falk said. “Dane County’s commitment to this innovative, public/private partnership will keep our air healthy and our economy strong.”
The EPA Air Innovations grant announced this morning at a PDQ gas station and convenience store in Madison will help fund the purchase and assessment of two state-of-the-art technology gasoline vapor recovery systems. Last year, the PDQ store was the first gasoline dealer in the state to install a Vaporsaver system manufactured by OPW. Two gas stations, one in Dane County and one in the Milwaukee area, will be outfitted with a new vapor recovery system.
“This is an innovative program that conserves fuel and protects the environment,” said Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. “It is a great example of government and business leaders working together to improve quality of life for us all.”
The initiative also will equip 100 gasoline stations in Dane County with vacuum pressure vent caps for their large underground gasoline storage tanks. These caps also hold in harmful gasoline vapors that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), one of the main components of ozone pollution. In 2004, Madison Gas & Electric Company provided the first-time funding that outfitted 50 gasoline stations in Madison with the environmentally friendly caps.
“This is a true good neighbor project,” said Jeff Clark, policy director for EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards, which awarded the grant. “By reducing VOC emissions from gas stations, Dane County will help keep its own air cleaner. And that, in turn, will help its downwind neighbors, such as Milwaukee, reduce ozone in their communities.”
The Green Gas Station initiative also will demonstrate how increasing the energy efficiency of a store will save energy and prevent pollution. By upgrading the lighting and refrigeration systems, Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program estimates a store will use 15 percent less energy compared to typical gasoline stations and convenience stores. The opportunity for savings in Dane County is substantial: convenience stores could save as much as 5 million kilowatt-hours annually, reducing ozone-causing pollutants by an additional 30 tons per year.
“We’re looking at all major energy uses inside and outside the store and determining ways to reduce them,” said Erik Kakulis of the Focus on Energy Commercial team. “Refrigeration is by far the greatest energy use in groceries and convenience stores, and newer controls help reduce the energy used to keep food cool. Improvements in indoor and outdoor lighting also present real opportunities for saving energy.”
These activities will reduce VOCs and nitrogen oxides -- two key pollutants responsible for producing ground-level pollution. While ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere protects people by reducing ultraviolet rays, ground-level ozone can be detrimental to the public health and economy. About half of Dane County’s ozone-causing pollutants come from cars and trucks, as well as other gasoline and diesel engines that power everything from construction equipment to lawnmowers.
Dane County Clean Air Coalition Members: City of Madison, Dane County, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Kraft Foods, Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Madison Gas & Electric Company, Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Petroleum Council.