Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins wants to eliminate costly gasoline additive - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins wants to eliminate costly gasoline additive

Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins says Louisville residents are being ripped off because they have to buy a special, higher-priced gasoline.

Reformulated gas, or RFG, receives additives that supposedly make it burn cleaner, to fight ozone pollution which appears during hot, stagnant weather.

Councilman Hawkins said Thursday, "We're saying, hey, you can reduce gas prices right here by eliminating the RFG gasoline.  It's legal and he can do it tomorrow."

Councilman Hawkins wants people to call the governor's office or sign his online petition demanding an end to RFG.

Hawkins claims the ozone-fighting gas adds 25-40 cents to every gallon of gas pumped in Louisville, and isn't even really needed:  "There are constituents out there that feel like we've been ripped-off for 15 years for no reason."

Reformulated gas came on the scene in 1993 to meet EPA's demands to reduce local ozone pollution.  Matt Stull of the Air Pollution Control Board says it's a fact it took 13 years to meet the federal standard.

And if we dump RFG now, the EPA could require really drastic steps to hold ozone in check.  Stull explains, "Any kind of offset would include capping production for business and industry, hurting jobs."

Hawkins replies, "I know some bureaucrats and environmentalists want to say that we have to have this.  We'll fall into noncompliance.....We have looked into it.  It is a voluntary program and we can voluntarily opt out of it."

But Stull says, "Our requirement is to meet that federal standard for ozone and RFG was, at that time, and still is, part of our meeting that federal standard."

Doug Hawkins says his "Dump RFG" website collected 300 signatures overnight and a morning radio appearance is bringing in a new flood of supporters.

Local and state officials are all for lower gas prices, but they remain under pressure to cut ozone pollution, so it will be difficult for them to agree to get rid of RFG.

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