Group of California Scientists Warns Of a Gasoline Crunch : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Group of California Scientists Warns Of a Gasoline Crunch

(KFWB) 7.24.01, 6:25p -- Just as pump prices are starting to inch lower, the nonprofit "Union of Concerned Scientists" warns California could be headed for a gasoline crisis. The group fears increasing demand, fewer refineries and the phase out of MTBE could cause shortages and stratospheric prices. The more costly gas additive ethanol will have to be used in place of MTBE to satisfy federal requirements that gas sold in cities with the dirtiest air contain oxygenates.

Anita Mangels, with the Western State Petroleum Association, says ethanol is not needed and will do nothing more than increase gas prices.

"Our own state law, which is much stricter than the federal rule, does not require additives such as ethanol," said Mangels.

She says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should grant California's request to waive the federal oxygenate mandate. The gas producers' group says refineries might not be able to meet demand for the new formulated blend of gas without the waiver.

Experts say the transportation and storage of ethanol is more difficult and expensive. Ethanol is produced primarily in the Mid West.

MTBE is being phased out in California and other states because it pollutes groundwater. California is set to ban the use of the suspected carcinogen by 2003.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 25, 2001

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