EPA waives emission rules in 38 states amid fears of fuel shortages

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a fuel emission waiver covering 38 states on Thursday to ease the flow of existing supplies of gasoline into the market amid increasing fears of fuel disruptions from Texas to New York.

EPA issued the 38-state waiver after reports the Colonial Pipeline would be shut down as many large refineries are closed due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The Colonial Pipeline delivers a big chunk of the eastern seaboard’s gasoline supply from the Gulf Coast to New York City. The new waiver supersedes and expands a previous waiver that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued on Wednesday to include 12 states and Washington, D.C.

The waiver allows refiners to forgo the continuation of summer gasoline blends, which are meant to control ozone-forming smog. Refiners and terminal blenders of the fuel can now bypass the strict blending rules and move to winter gasoline blends that require less work and cost to produce, and can get to market faster.

Thursday’s action includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.

Ethanol on the waiver

In response to the ethanol industry’s push for Pruitt to approve a nationwide waiver that supports higher blends of renewable fuels, Pruitt included a specific carve out for 15 percent gasoline-to-ethanol fuels in Thursday’s waiver, although it doesn’t give the industry everything it wanted.

“The sale of gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) must continue to comply with federal rules, which are designed to minimize the potential for E15 being used in vehicles that are not designed to use this…

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