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If EPA doesn't act, vehicle emission testing could return to Louisville

The city had vehicle emission tests from 1995-2005. Drivers would need their cars regularly tested to make sure their emission controls are working properly.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville officials say the Metro has made progress in getting cleaner air, and are hoping that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take that into account and redesignate Jefferson County's air quality rating. 

This is one of the first steps officials need to take to remove Louisville's reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirements. RFG is a gas blend that burns cleaner than regular gasoline, according to the EPA

But while it's better for the environment, RFG is more expensive to produce. Federal data shows RFG used in the Midwest is currently 64 cents more per gallon than conventional gasoline.

RELATED: 'No for now': EPA denies Kentucky's request to temporarily suspend Louisville's RFG requirements

"The RFG requirement does come from our not attaining the ozone standard," Matthew Mudd, communications coordinator at Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, said. "It's a federal control measure to help us meet that standard. It's a multistep process, but once we meet that standard, we can start the process to apply to remove the RFG requirement."

If the EPA doesn't redesignate Louisville, it could mean the return of vehicle emissions tests like Jefferson County had from 1999-2005. 

"If you have a vehicle, you're required to go in and regularly get it tested to make sure that your car's emissions controls are working properly," Mudd said. "This only comes into play if we are not meeting the standard and need that to eventually meet the standard."

Mudd, however, said that based on data from 2019-2021, Louisville is meeting the clean air standards, which is why they've formally applied to be redesignated. 

RELATED: IDEM: Some southern Indiana gas stations selling more expensive gasoline blend than EPA requires

"Our monitoring data shows that our air quality is improving to the point that we meet that federal standard," Mudd said. "Ultimately, meeting those standards and improving our air quality means fewer requirements for our citizens and healthier air so it's a win-win."

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District is accepting public comments about its application for redesignation until 5 p.m. on July 29. 

Read the full request for redesignation here.

How to submit a comment:

  • Public comments can be made online by clicking here.
  • Residents can also submit comments by mail to: Regulatory Coordinator, Byron Gary, Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District, 701 W. Ormsby Ave., Suite 303, Louisville, Ky 40203

For more information on other ways to comment on the request, please visit the ACPD's website.

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