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Gasoline Vapor Recovery

Gasoline vapors are released to the atmosphere every time a fuel tank is filled with gasoline. This happens with the filling a large underground storage tank as well as the fuel tank of a motor vehicle. Vermont has adopted regulations that require the control of these vapor emissions. 

Stage I vapor recovery refers to the capture of gasoline vapors generated when a tank truck delivers gasoline to a storage tank at a gasoline station. As the storage tank is filled, the vapors are transferred to the tank truck, which then carries the vapors to the gasoline distribution terminal. At the terminal, the vapors are condensed into liquid gasoline or are incinerated.

Stage II vapor recovery refers to the capture of gasoline vapors generated when a motor vehicle fuel tank is filled at a gasoline station. Using a specially designed nozzle, the vapors are transferred from the fuel tank in the vehicle to the storage tank at the station as the vehicle fuel tank is filled. 

Owners of stations with Stage II vapor recovery are required to test the equipment to ensure proper operation when the vapor control equipment is installed, and every five years after that. These tests are typically observed by Compliance Section staff. Compliance Section staff also perform compliance inspections of stations with Stage I or Stage II vapor recovery equipment.

Phase-out of Stage II Vapor Recovery

Beginning with the 1998 model year, a federal law established a phase-in schedule requiring gasoline powered motor vehicles to incorporate on-board equipment to capture the gasoline vapor emissions from refueling. These controls, referred to as on-board refueling vapor recovery (ORVR), have been required on the vast majority of gasoline powered motor vehicles since the 2006 model year. When most of the vehicles on the road are equipped with ORVR, Stage II vapor recovery can be discontinued without a significant impact on emissions.

A law was passed by the Legislature in 2009 that sets a date (January 1, 2013) after which gasoline stations in Vermont will no longer be required to have and operate Stage II vapor controls. In many cases, Stage II controls will not need to be installed or stations can stop using them before January 1, 2013. See Phase-out of Stage II Vapor Recovery for additional information.

An underground tank at a gasoline station is being filled, and the gasoline vapors are being returned to the tank truck.

A nozzle at a gasoline station is being tested to ensure that it captures gasoline vapors.


The following guidance documents, forms and fact sheets are related to gasoline vapor recovery equipment and the associated inspection and test observation activities of the Compliance Section:

  1. Fact Sheet - Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery

  2. List of Stage II Testing Firms
  3. Stage II Decommissioning Procedure

  4. Decommissioning Checklist * - electronic (use this form to fill out the form on your computer)
  5. Decommissioning Checklist - manual (use this form to fill out the form by hand)

    *NOTE: These checklists can be downloaded and filled out electronically, but must be printed out and signed by a responsible individual. The signed checklist can then be mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed to the Air Quality & Climate Division.

last update 2/27/15


VT DEC Air Quality & Climate Division Davis Building 2nd Floor, 1 National Life Drive   Montpelier, VT  05620-3802  Tele: 802-828-1288 Fax: 802-828-1250

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