Arne E. Gubrud, 43, who was director of environmental affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, died Wednesday at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He had suffered from a heart ailment and recently had retired for reasons of health.

Mr. Gubrud supervised the gathering of environmental information at the API for dissemination of government, industry and private groups. He joined the organization in 1968, when its headquarters were in New York, and moved to this area in 1970 when API also moved here. He was promoted to director of environmental affairs in 1973.

Mr. Gubrud had been an editor and assistant director of public relations for the American Water Works Association in New York for eight years before joining API.

He was born in Redwood Falls, Minn. He graduated from the University of Chicago and did graduate work in physics and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. He was an editor and translator of foreign technical journals before joining the water works association.

He was a member of the Water Polution Control Federation and the Air Pollution Control Association.

Survivors include his wife, Faye, and four children, Kurt, Mark, Edward and Jennifer, all of the home in Columbia, Md., and his mother, Silvia Gubrud, of Janesville, Wis.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Association.