Tulsa might roll back a voluntary standard for gasoline that helps keep the air clean. It's under review because it adds pennies at the pump - but it's also contributed to a measurable decline in pollution.
News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story. Not every city has a refinery practically downtown, but Tulsa has two. What they do has a big impact on air quality - and it's not just what comes out of the stacks - how they make gasoline can change the amount of pollution a car puts out. In the summer, the refineries make a special blend of gasoline that creates less pollution.
Depending on the market - it either costs drivers or the refinery about 3 cents a gallon. While Tulsa's special formula gasoline may not add to the cost at the pump - it's costing the refineries plenty. A spokesman for Sunoco's Tulsa refinery said that each summer they make the special blend cost them an extra half million dollars. Mayor Bill LaFortune, Tulsa: â€œWe cannot go on the dirty air list that would have severe consequences, negative for Tulsa.â€
LaFortune says the extra cost - whoever pays it - may be worth the cleaner air - but he wants a review to make sure of what costs are - and how much it helps. "Has it achieved what we thought it would achieve, balance that with the cost and make a decision on how we go forward?"
Nancy Graham with INCOG is part of the team gathering the facts for the mayor. She says in the four years the fuel has been used here - the air has improved. "We started to see a dramatic decline at the ozone monitor and in fact over that time we've managed to as the last of the season, just make the standard."
The special blend is made under a voluntary agreement with the belief the extra costs would be worth better air.