Wednesday is the deadline for California’s gas stations to install sophisticated nozzles and hoses to control vapor emissions at the pump, and the Los Angeles Times reports that some one in five station owners are in open defiance of the new state order.
Gas station owners say that the new equipment is so expensive that buying it during the worst economic slump in decades would put them out of business.
“It may be necessary to protect public health, but it’s unaffordable,” James Hosmanek, who owns a Chevron station in San Bernardino, told the newspaper.
Hosmanek, who has already laid off eight employees as his business struggles to survive the recession, said banks and equipment lenders have rejected his requests for some $60,000 in loans he would need to buy eight new nozzles and hoses and that “even if I could get the funding, I couldn’t make the payments.”
He told the Times that the owner of a Shell station down the street complied with the new order by putting the equipment on credit cards, a solution he calls “financial suicide.”