German petrol stations face VOC punishment

Cabinet backs plan to enforce fume reduction after industry fails to ensure emissions capture

The German cabinet today agreed a draft ordinance aimed at cutting volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from petrol station fuel pumps. The rules were proposed by environment minister Jürgen Trittin, who claims that the oil industry has failed to ensure that fuel filler systems designed to capture and recycle VOCs actually work.

VOC-recycling fuel fillers were introduced in Germany in the early 1990s. But surveys have shown that up to half of them do not work properly and about one-third not at all, says the environment ministry. Mainly composed of hydrocarbons, the fumes contribute to ozone pollution and also contain the carcinogenic chemical benzene.

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