Rubber Gas Boots May Be A Thing Of The Past Soon

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Drivers may soon be celebrating big changes at St. Louis area gas pumps that may make them nearly as happy as would $2 gas.  

St. Louis may finally be able say "so long" to those rubber "boots" on gas nozzles.  
They're been around for 25 years, but only in St. Louis City and the 4 surrounding Missouri counties.  The devices are meant to improve air quality.  But it's a pain to get them into a car`s gas tank just right, so you can actually pump gas.

By next summer, St. Louis drivers may not have to mess with them anymore.  It`s hardly been a stellar summer for air quality in St. Louis; with the air considered 'unhealthy' for those with breathing issues in at least part of the area for 16 days, in July alone.

Even so, the days of those funky nozzle covers may be about to end.  

'I`m from Kansas City, MO,' said DeAngela Morgan, who noticed the difference at St. Louis pumps right away.  'Once I got here, I was like, `what the heck is this?`'

'It does click off a lot,' said driver, Kim Hawkins, noting the propensity of the 'boots' to shut off the nozzle repeatedly during fill-ups.  'It takes a long time to push in, to get it to fit, so you don`t have to keep holding it.'

'It does click off a lot.  It makes if frustrating when you`re in a hurry and it just keeps clicking off, and off, and off, and you`re like, `I just need to get my gas,`' laughed driver, Shelly Boyer.  

'Sometimes it pops out, you have to stick it back in again.  It`s not that big of a deal but you do have to watch it because it will all of the sudden pop out on you,' added driver, Carl /Gholston.  

The boots trap vapors released when you gas up.  But the system also includes special gas hoses along with equipment under the gas pumps.  

The vapors which contribute to smog.  

But the head of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association said newer cars from the early 1990`s-on, had made the nozzle boot-systems obsolete.

Plus, he said the systems were expensive, costing station owners $10,000-$15,000 per station.  and QT alone has 63 Missouri stations in the St. Louis.  A spokesman said with 625 QT stores in 11 states, St. Louis was the only market with the added expense.  

'It`s expensive for small business owners to put in that equipment and to constantly maintain and test the equipment,' said Ron Leone, the Executive Director of the MO Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. 'Now that most cars have that equipment built into their car tanks themselves, it`s no longer needed.'

'What took you guys so long ?' Morgan laughed.

The EPA will allow the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to remove the boots, but only if the state can come up with a technical demonstration to show doing so will not hurt our air quality.  

Leone said it`d like be 12-18 months before St. Louis saw the last of the boots.

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