Frequent Questions

At what point in the import process must shipments of imported gasoline be sampled in order to meet the RFG and anti-dumping requirements?

Section 80.65(e)(1) requires importers to determine the properties applicable to the RFG standards for each batch of imported gasoline designated as RFG prior to the gasoline leaving the import facility, by analyzing a representative sample from the batch using the test methods specified in § 80.46. Section 80.101(i)(1) similarly requires an importer to determine the properties applicable to the anti-dumping standards for each batch of imported conventional gasoline by analyzing a sample using the § 80.46 test methods. In the case of conventional gasoline, under § 80.101(i)(2) the samples from more than one batch of conventional gasoline may be combined into a composite sample and analyzed together, following procedures specified in that section.

These sections thus require that a sample of each batch of imported gasoline must be collected before the batch is combined with any other gasoline or blendstock that is not a part of that imported batch. As a result, in order to meet the requirements, any batch of imported gasoline must be sampled before the batch is off-loaded from a ship into a shore tank if that shore tank contains any amount of any product. This is because a sample from such a shore tank would be a mixture of imported gasoline and the other product, and would therefore not be representative of the gasoline that being imported. For these reasons, a sample of each batch of imported gasoline must be collected before the ship is off-loaded at the port of entry. In the case of imported RFG, the independent lab and the importer (if the importer is using the 10% independent analysis option) must collect a sample of the imported gasoline, and it must be determined that the measurements are consistent with certifiable RFG, before the ship is off-loaded.

The different ship compartments normally must be considered different batches of gasoline, because the gasoline may not be homogeneous across multiple compartments. In the case of imported conventional gasoline, composite samples from multiple batches are allowed, so a volume-weighted composite from the gasoline in different compartments of a ship may be analyzed for anti-dumping compliance purposes. The volume of a batch of imported conventional gasoline must be the off-loaded volume, however, and normally would be established by the importer based on shore tank measurements.

In the case of RFG, the importer and independent lab may treat the gasoline in different compartments of a ship as a single batch only if the importer or lab has a strong basis to believe that the gasoline is homogeneous across the compartments, but such a determination would require analysis of the different compartment samples for most of the RFG parameters. The minimum set of parameters that may be used to establish homogeneity are the following: API Gravity, sulfur, benzene, E200, and E300. Only if the different compartments of a ship have the same values for each of these parameters, within the ASTM repeatability range for each parameter, may the gasoline in different ship compartments be considered to be homogeneous.
In the alternative, EPA will accept the analysis of samples collected from different ship compartments that are combined into a single volume-weighted composite sample, provided the compartments are off-loaded into a single shore tank. EPA believes such a composite sample would be representative of the overall quality of the gasoline in the multiple ship compartments, following the mixing of this gasoline in the shore tank. If the gasoline is not completely homogeneous when in the different ship compartments, presumably the gasoline will be mixed to the point of homogeneity in the shore tank.

As a second alternative, EPA will accept the analysis of samples collected from different ship compartments that are combined into a single volume-weighted composite sample, provided that each shore tank into which the imported RFG is off-loaded is also sampled and tested to establish that the imported RFG meets the downstream standards without the application of any enforcement tolerances.18 Under this approach, any RFG contained in the shore tank before the imported RFG is added (the tank "bottom") must be sampled and tested for the downstream standards using the § 80.46 test methods. After the imported RFG is added to the tank, the entire tank again must be sampled and tested for the downstream standards using the § 80.46 test methods. The volume and properties of the tank bottom must then be subtracted from the post-addition test results, to mathematically determine the levels for the downstream standard parameters for the imported RFG. Only if these shore tank test results are within the downstream standards without the application of any enforcement tolerance may the ship composite sample be used to certify the imported RFG.

As a third alternative, EPA will accept the analysis of samples collected from different ship compartments that are combined into a single volume-weighted composite sample, provided that each individual vessel compartment is shown, through sampling and testing, to meet all applicable downstream standards without the application of any enforcement tolerance.

The rationale for the second and third alternatives to treating each ship compartment as a separate batch is that these procedures will ensure that even if the gasoline on the ship is not homogeneous, none of the gasoline violates the minimum and maximum standards.

Under either of these alternative approaches, a composite sample would be inappropriate to establish the RVP of imported RFG, because the process of preparing a composite sample renders any RVP result suspect. The importer and independent lab could, however, test a ship composite sample (if allowed as discussed above) for all properties other than RVP, and only separately analyze the compartment samples for RVP. The RVP of the multiple-compartment batch could then be derived mathematically from the separate RVP analyses for each compartment. As in the case of conventional gasoline, the volume of imported RFG must be the off-loaded volume, and normally would be established by the independent lab based on shore tank measurements.

Any imported RFG that is sampled and tested using the composite approaches discussed above would be considered a single batch for purposes of assigning batch numbers and reporting to EPA.

The approaches for testing imported RFG involving composite samples from multiple ship compartments, as discussed above, would not be appropriate if the importer or independent lab has any reason to believe the gasoline will not be homogeneous when released from the import facility. (10/31/95)

18 The RFG downstream standards are the per-gallon maximums or minimums associated with the following average standards: under the simple model, oxygen and benzene, and RVP in the case of VOC-controlled RFG; under the complex model, oxygen, benzene, and NOx emissions performance, and VOC emissions performance in the case of VOC-controlled RFG.

This question and answer is posted at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/rfg/qa/420r03009.pdf. The original was posted in the Q&A posted on 10/31/95 which can found at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/rfg_qa.htm" See Question ID 3857 for RFG (Taken from the first question on http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/rfg/qa/420r03009.pdf)
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