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Experts predict that gas prices in southern Colorado are expected to rise over the next two weeks

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – Every year, gasoline prices start to climb a little higher ahead of the busy summer season. One change that could push these prices up even further is one that has been underway for years. The deadline to switch to reformulated gasoline (RFG) has finally arrived. It’s all about addressing our state’s deteriorating air quality.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reformulated gasoline (RFG) is gasoline that has been blended to burn cleaner than conventional gasoline and to reduce smog-forming and toxic pollutants in the air we breathe. The RFG program was mandated by Congress in the changes to the Clean Air Act of 1990.

RFG is required in cities with high smog levels and optional elsewhere. RFG is currently used in 17 states and the District of Columbia. According to the EPA, about 25 percent of gasoline sold in the U.S. is reformulated.

“The EPA is not going to let this fall on their (Colorado’s) lap. They told us this was happening and they said if you don’t take steps to prevent this, you’re going to have to pay more for gas,” said Skylar McKinley, regional director Public Affairs for AAA.

From June 1, a new type of gasoline will be in your tank. Two years ago, the EPA mandated the change due to worsening smog and ozone levels in our state. Colorado’s main refiner, Suncor, is preparing to change its production processes.

“The refineries are not going to produce one fuel for one part of the state, one fuel for another… everyone in Colorado, including Pueblo, Colorado Springs, is going to have to use this more expensive fuel,” McKinley said. .

Consumers can expect prices to rise another $0.30 per gallon over the next two weeks, according to AAA projections.

“It’s not just because of RFG (reformulated gasoline), it’s because of the seasonal switching that’s happening everywhere else in the country,” McKinley said.

As you can imagine, this is especially frustrating for people in southern Colorado, who are not contributing to the ground-level ozone problem in the northern front region.

“It’s definitely a very scary thing to think about just because it’s hard enough to take care of everything,” said Colorado Springs resident Victoria Smith.

Governor Polis has fought this switch quite aggressively over the past two years, but the EPA has repeatedly rejected his requests to relinquish the mandate. We contacted his office for an interview on Tuesday, but the governor declined.