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EPA prolongs post-Harvey gasoline waiver

07 Sep 2017 20:05 (+01:00 GMT)
EPA prolongs post-Harvey gasoline waiver

Washington, 7 September (Argus) — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending a waiver of requirements to sell cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline in 38 states as refiners in Texas and Louisiana continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt today said the waiver would stay in effect through 26 September because there continues to be "limited production and availability of fuels" because of the closure of refineries, ports and pipelines in the wake of the Category 4 storm. The reformulated gasoline waiver had been set to expire on 15 September.

The waiver will apply across the eastern half of the US. Reformulated gasoline is less volatile and has lower emissions when combusted than conventional gasoline. EPA says it accounts for about 30pc of gasoline sold in the US. The fuel is legally required to be used in parts of Texas, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and other states facing persistent air pollution problems.

EPA said it extended the reformulated gasoline waiver in part based on its analysis of the potential effects that Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that is forecast to make landfall in southern Florida on 10 September. EPA retained an existing 15 September deadline for a waiver for other low-volatility gasoline.

The extension comes two days after the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a related waiver allowing the 5,500-mile (8,851km) Colonial pipeline system to transport gasoline with higher volatility. Colonial, a major source of gasoline to markets in the eastern US, said it could not quickly transport high-volatility gasoline without the waiver.

EPA yesterday also approved a waiver allowing Florida to sell off-road diesel for use in highway vehicles through 22 September. Florida governor Rick Scott (R) requested the waiver because he said there was not enough highway-compliant diesel available in the state for emergency vehicles, disaster response and evacuations.

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