MTBE vs. ethanol: sorting through the oxygenate issues

Typically, movements in US gasoline prices reflect changes in crude oil prices and seasonal factors. But over the past two driving seasons supply problems, especially with reformulated gasoline (RFG), have had major impacts on prices.Only modest supply shortfalls in an essential product for consumers have caused price spikes, most notably in California and in the Chicago-Milwaukee area. Risks of future supply shortfalls and price spikes are being magnified by current state initiatives to ban methyl teritary butyl ether in a relatively brief period while maintaining the federal oxygenate mandate for RFG. Maintaining the mandate would effectively require an extremely expensive, logistically...

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