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Petrol vapour recovery during refuelling of vehicles

Petrol vapour which is emitted during the refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations should be recovered in order to limit emissions of harmful vapour into the atmosphere. This vapour adds to emissions of atmospheric pollutants such as benzene and ground-level ozone which are harmful to human health and the environment.


Directive 2009/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on Stage II petrol vapour recovery during refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations.


This Directive aims at ensuring that harmful petrol vapour displaced from the fuel tank of a motor vehicle during refuelling at a service station is recovered. The petrol pumps of many service stations in the European Union (EU) will have to be equipped to recover this vapour.

Service stations

This Directive applies to new service stations or those having undergone major refurbishment, of which the annual throughput must be in excess of 500 m3 of petrol. It imposes upon operators of these service stations an obligation to install a Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery system or “Stage II PVR”. Furthermore, service stations with a throughput in excess of 100 m3 per year which are located under living accommodation must also install this equipment.

Larger existing service stations with a throughput in excess of 3 000 m3 per year must also apply Stage II PVR by 2018.

Stage II PVR equipment has already been installed in service stations in almost 50 % of the Member States. This Directive extends this practice to the whole European Union.

Minimum level of petrol vapour recovery

The Stage II PVR equipment installed on petrol pumps in service stations must capture 85 % of petrol vapour. The petrol vapour capture efficiency of such systems must be certified by the manufacturer in accordance with the relevant European technical standards or type approval procedures or, if there are no such standards or procedures, with any relevant national standard.

Stage II PVR equipment draws off petrol vapour. It is then transferred to a storage tank at the service station. The vapour/petrol ratio shall be equal to or greater than 0.95 but less than or equal to 1.05.

Periodic checks

The petrol vapour capture efficiency of Stage II petrol vapour recovery systems must be tested at least once a year. This test may be carried out either by checking the vapour/petrol ratio defined above under simulated petrol flow conditions, or by any other appropriate methodology.

If the service station has automatic monitoring equipment, capture efficiency shall be tested at least once every three years. If the tests detect anomalies, the service station operator must rectify the fault within seven days.

Consumer information

All service stations which have installed Stage II petrol vapour recovery systems must inform consumers thereof. In order to do this, the operator may place a sign, sticker or other notification on, or in the vicinity of, the petrol dispenser.


This Directive comes under the Sixth Environment Action Programme adopted in July 2002 which established the need to reduce air pollution to levels which minimise harmful effects on human health and the environment.

This Directive supplements the technical specifications for the storage of petrol. These technical specifications are harmonised at European level by Directive 94/63/EC which forms Stage I of petrol vapour recovery.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2009/126/EC



OJ L 285 of 31.10.2009

Last updated: 12.04.2010
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