Energy & Environment Lab Air Quality Self-Inspection Study

As a result of the Clean Air Act, the United States has made enormous strides in improving air quality in the past four decades. Despite this progress, over 50% of Americans still live in counties with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Gas stations can contribute to air pollution through leaks in dispensing equipment and improper gasoline storage. Across the country the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local government bodies have developed rules to reduce pollution by ensuring that gas stations install and maintain equipment to control pollution and inspect for leaks. However, with nearly 112,000 gas stations nationwide, ensuring compliance is difficult.

The Energy & Environment Lab and the University of California Irvine have partnered with the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency in Washington State and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California to design and develop a new approach aimed at increasing the effectiveness of gas station self-inspections and ultimately improving air quality. The most novel feature of this program consists of an app-based self-monitoring system designed to make self-inspections easier and incentivize gas stations’ compliance with environmental rules.