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Detroit Gas Station Ordered to Follow Clean Air Act Following Court Battle

LANSING - A duty-free gas station next to the Ambassador Bridge that ignored laws meant to safeguard the air in and around Detroit lost its challenge in court, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell announced today. 

Ammex, Inc. sued MDARD in March 2018 to avoid following Michigan's gasoline vapor pressure regulations, which require all gasoline dispensing facilities in eight counties in southeast Michigan to sell low vapor pressure gasoline during the summer because it is generally when ozone pollution is at its worst and air pollution associated with gasoline refueling turns into ozone. This requirement became necessary because the air in Wayne County, among other locations, did not meet the federal ambient air quality standards. Under Michigan's Motor Fuel Quality Act and requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency, MDARD's Motor Fuels Quality Program ensures gasoline sold in those eight counties meets the low vapor pressure requirement for summertime gasoline helping the region to maintain compliance with the federal Clean Air Act. 

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with the State and found that fuel laws apply to the gas station because it is a refueling site located in Wayne County, which is part of the eight-county area, regardless of its status as a duty-free store. 

"Gas stations emit harmful air pollutants, including pollutants that can form ozone," Nessel said. "Ammex is one of the largest gasoline stations in Detroit, and this case confirms that they must comply with Michigan's gasoline vapor pressure regulations.  This is a win for the Clean Air Act and for all Michiganders." 

"This ruling affirms the important role our motor fuel quality inspectors play in ensuring clean air, especially in those designated counties in southeast Michigan," McDowell said. "I appreciate the court's ruling upholding the Ammex gas station's duty to comply with Michigan's Motor Fuel Quality Act and reduce harmful smog levels in Southeast Michigan." 

The Court's ruling can be found on the Department of Attorney General's website

More information on the state's Motor Fuel Quality Program and regulations can be found on the MDARD website under "Lab Services."