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Smog across the Front Range is going to raise gas prices for millions of Coloradans

As the EPA’s air quality downgrade looms, the Regional Air Quality Council is writing a plan to move the state into compliance with national air quality standards
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Posted at 8:51 PM, Aug 23, 2022

As foul smog continues to hover along the Front Range horizon, millions of Colorado drivers will pay more for a special formula of gasoline that is supposed to cause less pollution. But just how much that fuel improves the air and whether the expense is worth the financial burden it is under debate in Colorado.

Gov. Jared Polis is poised to fight the use of reformulated gas — a special blend that reduces harmful emissions from car exhaust — and earlier this month he informed a state board that he intends to fight a federal rule that would require it. It would be a futile effort once the EPA declares the Front Range’s air quality is severe.

Environmentalists, however, say reformulated gas should remain part of the strategy to lower toxic emissions because the ozone problem is a crisis that requires Colorado to use every solution at its disposal.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to downgrade the Front Range’s air quality to severe and part of that move requires motorists in a nine-county area stretching from Douglas County to Larimer County to use the reformulated gas during the summer months, when smog is at its worse, beginning in May 2024.

Already, Suncor Energy, which operates a large refinery in Commerce City and provides a third of the gasoline used in Colorado, said it is investing $36 million at its facility to produce the gas. The company, which provided a statement to The Denver Post, would not comment on how much of that cost would be passed to consumers or how much more it would cost retailers who have to buy the special blend for their pumps.

Read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.