By Francis Koster, Ed.D.

The Problem:

  • Leaking gas caps contribute to air pollution and waste fuel due to evaporation.
  • According to the US Car Care Council estimates, 17% of vehicle gas caps are either damaged or missing allowing 147 million gallons of gasoline to vaporize every year.
  • Gas caps can leak regardless of the age of the vehicle (higher if vehicle is more than 3 yrs old)
  • Every leaking gas cap = approximately 200 pounds of evaporative emissions per year (0.1 tons of VOCs)
  • Thirty gallons of gasoline can be released annually from a leaking gas cap.

 

MCAQ provided gas cap testing units to rotate between volunteering NC inspection stations. MCAQ also conducts Gas Cap Testing events at businesses, special events and other community venues in the Charlotte ozone non-attainment region (Mecklenburg, Gaston, Lincoln, Iredell, Rowan, Cabarrus, Union and York SC counties)

test

If a vehicle's gas cap fails the test, a new one will be provided free of charge. The program is funded by a grant, $89,000, from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Volunteers and MCAQ staff administered the gas cap checks.  Between 2007 and April, 2009, over 18,000 vehicles were tested. Over 800 gas caps failed the test and were replaced preventing over 78 tons of evaporative emissions annually being released to the atmosphere and saving over 23,000 gallons of fuel.

For more information, contact : Alan Giles, Mecklenberg County Air Quality, 704-336-5836

http://airquality.charmeck.org