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EPA Approves Fuel Waiver for Phoenix area

Release Date: 10/10/2008
Contact Information: Dave Ryan, (703) 593-1008 (Press Only) / ryan.dave@epa.gov

(10/10/08) As a result of the disruption in the supply of fuel from Gulf-area refineries and pipelines, EPA has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. The disruption and delays in production and delivery of gasoline to Arizona resulted from effects of Hurricane Ike, as well as a fire at a fuel distribution terminal that temporarily shut down deliveries of gasoline to Arizona.

Today's action waives the requirement that gasoline distributed and sold after Nov. 1, 2008 must meet wintertime clean burning gasoline (CBG) requirements, as specified in Arizona's federally-approved state implementation plan (SIP). The waiver is in effect in all of Maricopa County, and in those parts of Yavapai and Pinal Counties where CBG is required.

Arizona's SIP specifies different requirements for gasoline during the summer and winter months in certain counties. The requirement for wintertime CBG begins Nov. 1.

The waiver delays the effective date for the wintertime CBG to Nov. 16, 2008, allowing for the continued distribution and sale of summertime CBG, and will allow time for wintertime CBG, which was delayed due to the refinery and delivery disruptions, to be delivered to these areas. After that time, only wintertime CBG may be distributed from terminals to retail outlets in these areas.

The waiver was granted today by EPA, after consultation with the Department of Energy. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson determined that extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which are likely to result in a shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations.

More than 80 percent of Arizona's cleaner burning gasoline is delivered from pipelines that originate in Texas. About a dozen refineries were forced to shutdown or curtail operations due to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and the area's refining capacity has yet to fully recover. Today's waiver will allow greater flexibility for the fuel distribution system to support an adequate supply of gasoline.

As required by law, EPA evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest.

More information: epa.gov/compliance/civil/caa/fuelwaivers/