This paper describes a novel methodology for evaluating the extent to which petrol stations affect their surroundings. The method is based on the fact that the ratio of the concentrations of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon pollutants in the air of the petrol stations and their surroundings (basically determined by vapor emissions from unburned gasoline) differs from the ratio found in urban air, which is mainly influenced by traffic emissions. Bearing this in mind, the spatial limit of influence of petrol stations in any direction would be the first point, moving away from the station, where the ratio becomes equal to the urban background ratio. Application of the methodology involves multipoint measuring campaigns of the air at the studied petrol station and built-up area in general and processing the data with software capable of providing isoconcentration contours. The procedure should help local authorities in terms of land management, so that a "belt" can be established around petrol stations where housing or vulnerable populations and activities such as those in schools, hospitals and community centers should be restricted.
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