Benzene in Gasoline Regulations: frequently asked questions
1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
Benzene is a human carcinogen. The purpose of the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations (the regulations) is to reduce emissions of benzene from gasoline-powered vehicles through regulating the amount of benzene in gasoline.
2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
The regulations prohibit the supply of gasoline with a benzene content exceeding 1.0% by volume or, at the election of the company, 0.95% on an annual average. The regulations also prohibit the sale and offer for sale at any time of gasoline with more than 1.5% by volume of benzene.
The regulations also restrict the benzene emissions number (BEN), a calculated parameter that relates gasoline composition to predicted emissions of benzene from vehicle tailpipes, to a maximum of 71 in the summer and 92 in the winter. Companies may also elect to meet the BEN on a yearly pool average. Please refer to the guidance document on the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations for further details on the requirements.
The regulations require record keeping and reporting to assist in verifying compliance.
3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
Businesses most affected by the regulations are those that manufacture (i.e., produce or refine), blend or import gasoline:
- a manufacturer is any person who owns, leases, operates, controls, supervises or manages a refinery;
- a blender is any person who owns, leases, operates, controls, supervises or manages a blending facility (including mobile blending facilities: cargo tankers, etc.) or owns the gasoline in a blending facility. Certain blending operations are excluded from the regulations;
- an importer is any person who imports gasoline into Canada. Gasoline in the fuel tank of a vehicle for use of that vehicle is not considered by the regulations to be imported.
The regulations place requirements on gasoline suppliers that include regular record keeping and reporting to assist in verifying compliance. More details of these requirements are described in the guidance document on the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations.
4. What is the timeline for implementation?
The Benzene in Gasoline Regulations first came into force on November 6, 1997, and continue to be in force under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The regulations prohibit the supply of gasoline that contains benzene at a concentration exceeding 1.0% by volume as of July 1, 1999. They also prohibit the sale or the offer for sale of gasoline that contains benzene at a concentration that exceeds 1.5% by volume after July 1, 2000, in the “northern supply area” (as defined by the regulations), and effective October 1, 1999, everywhere else in Canada. The regulations also prohibit the supply of gasoline after July 1, 1999, that exceeds a benzene emission number of 71 during the summer, and 92 during the winter.
5. Where can I get more information?
The following links provide additional information and guidance:
For more information and to receive email notifications of updates regarding Environment and Climate Change Canada’s actions on fuels, please contact :
For more information
- Federal regulatory management
- The Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management
- The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council
This document is intended to provide contextual information on the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations. It does not replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations shall prevail.
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