It may be April Fool's Day, but gas station owners around the state of California realize that this may not be a joke.
A new California law went into effect today. The law requires all gas stations to install sophisticated nozzles and hoses to capture more of the vapors that cause respiratory disease and cancer. The mandate forces 11,000 gasoline stations to purchase the expensive upgrades, a move that owners say is "unaffordable". For some, the improvements would cost up to $60,000 for eight nozzles, a price they say is too high for the present economic state.
The rationale behind the law? "Improving California's air is of the utmost importance," proclaimed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a letter to legislators. The letter also said, "enforcement flexibility is an absolute necessity to ensure against the job and financial losses that could come from stations being shut down or fined for non-compliance." State officials predict the law will prevent 10 tons a day of vapor emissions from getting into the air.
But not every gas station owner is complying because of the cost.
Will California clamp down and impose fines or give owners an extension? Will the government sacrifice the well-being of its citizens for the well-being of the environment? Or, will California attempt to subsidize the upgrades? (But that raises a question: Where would the state find the cash?)
Good luck, California. Maybe our air purity can wait a little longer.