API urges limit on RFG waivers

The American Petroleum Institute Thursday urged the US Environmental Protection Agency to consider carefully before it issues more cities waivers from requirements to use Phase II reformulated gasoline this summer. Last week, EPA gave St. Louis gasoline suppliers their third waiver in 2 months, allowing them to sell conventional gasoline through June 5 because RFG II was in short supply. Milwaukee and Chicago have also sought waivers.


The American Petroleum Institute Thursday urged the US Environmental Protection Agency to consider carefully before it issues more cities waivers from requirements to use Phase II reformulated gasoline this summer.

Last week, EPA gave St. Louis gasoline suppliers their third waiver in 2 months, allowing them to sell conventional gasoline through June 5 because RFG II was in short supply. Milwaukee and Chicago have also sought waivers.

Earlier this week, Sec. Richardson said EPA would consider more waivers.

API Pres. Red Cavaney wrote US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson and EPA Administrator Carol Browner that the oil group is "very concerned by recent reports that EPA and DOE are considering temporarily waiving the RFG requirements for several cities.

The API letter said waivers "would have a negative impact on air quality in areas of the country most in need of emissions reductions. Allowing the use of conventional gasoline in RFG areas will increase volatile organic compound and nitrogen oxides emissions, which will contribute to smog formation. This is especially a concern as we begin the summer high-ozone season."

Cavaney noted that refiners made capital investments to comply with Phase II of the RFG program based on EPA's assurances of regulatory stability. "The issuance of compliance waivers puts those investments at risk. Furthermore, the issuance of such waivers injects uncertainty that may adversely impact the success of EPA's more recent fuels initiatives, as refiners individually decide whether to make capital investments to comply with those rules."

Cavaney said fluctuations in gasoline prices do not justify waivers. He said waivers provide a financial windfall to companies supplying nonconforming gasoline that should be "forfeited to the US Treasury."

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