Watching Government: What’s next for MTBE?

The US refining and distribution system was preparing for gasoline without methyl tertiary butyl ether before federal lawmakers pulled defective-product liability protection from the 2005 energy bill. Its absence, and the mandated phaseout of the oxygenate requirement that led to MTBE’s use in the first place, accelerated the withdrawal process.How hard it will be for the system to adjust by next summer’s driving season will be determined in the next couple of months, government and industry observers agree. Valero Energy Corp. already has said it plans to quit producing MTBE by next spring (see story, p.30).“The issue always is one of transition,” said Joanne Shor...

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