Gas Station Toxic Fume Emissions Are 10 Times Higher Than Thought
Emissions from gas stations may be much higher than previously thought.
Researchers at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Arid Technologies wanted to know if vent pipe emissions of benzene from storage tanks at gas stations are really at the levels that people think they are. Published September 24 in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the study found that the daily evaporative losses could be 7 gallons a day.
“There are several unique aspects of our study which have not been considered before,” Markus Hilpert, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University and first author on the paper, told Newsweek. He said this is the first study published in peer-reviewed literature that’s measured vent pipe emissions at gas stations at these rates.
At two large U.S. gas stations—one in the Midwest and one in the Northwest—Hilpert and his team measured emissions from the vent pipes for three weeks. They attached gas flow meters to the venting pipes and reported daily evaporative losses. At the Midwest station, they lost 7 gallons a day and at the Northwest location 3 gallons daily.
“It’s like if you fill seven 1-gallon jars of gasoline and then every day you pour the 7 gallons onto the ground,” Hilpert said.
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