MTBE faces an uncertain future

The MTBE situation in the US is in flux.The momentum to phase out MTBE seems unstoppable in California, which will likely eliminate its use by the end of 2002.Other US states will also likely reduce or eliminate the use of MTBE, depending on the final oxygenate requirements, but not before the end of 2005. The accompanying box shows the impacts of two possible scenarios.While the damage to MTBE appears fatal, it may still be possible to avoid a collapse of the air benefits that MTBE has helped achieve. To date, the US government appears to support the renewable fuels industry and seems likely to encourage or even to demand the use of ethanol. Despite significant logistical and technical d...

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