On April 25, 2006, President Bush directed EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to bring the governors together to form a task force on boutique fuels. In President Bushs speech he wanted to know if “special fuels” were contributing to a rise in prices and a shortage of supply. The mission of the task force then was to find ways to reduce the number of boutique fuels and to increase cooperation between states on gasoline supply decisions. EPA invited views from industry experts, public health organizations, and other interested parties.
From the report, the major observations and recommendations include:
According to Al Mannato, fuel issues manager for American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade association for the oil companies, “conventional gasoline has an RVP of 9 psi. The lower the psi number the lower the volatility of gasoline. Volatility is how much it evaporates as it burns or sit’s. The more emissions you have, the more smog you have. Smog creates the thinning of the ozone layer.”
What are boutique fuels?
Boutique fuels relate to gasoline, not diesel or ethanol, and are defined in this report as:
[clean air] Implementation Plan (SIP). Basically, a state can impose the fuel it needs in order to meet the federal government standard.The reformulated gasoline (RFG) program is not considered a boutique fuel by the EPA. A law was passed in 1995 that required oxygenates. Back then only Milwaukee and Chicago used E10, everyone else started using methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). As of May 8, 2006 oxygenates are no longer required, but the Renewable Fuels Standard created an annual average level of renewable be used and that level is being met with mainly ethanol. Which states have boutique fuels?
Currently, 12 states have established state specific SIP-approved controls on fuels. These 12 states have 15 boutique fuel programs.
Kansas City, MO has 3 counties that requires the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of 7.0 psi. RVP is a measure of gasolines evaporation rate. Higher RVP gasoline evaporates more easily at summer temperatures. Unless it is stipulated, RVP requirements are in effect from June 1 to September 15.
Kansas City, KS has 2 counties that requires the RVP of 7.0 psi.
El Paso, TX county requires an RVP of 7.0 psi.
Phoenix, AZ, Maricopa county requires an RVP of 7.0 psi from June 1 to September 30. AZs cleaner burning gasoline is similar to federal RFG or California RFG in summer and similar only to California RFG in the winter.
Atlanta, GA has 45 county areas that requires an RVP of 7.0 psi. Georgias boutique fuel includes a provision addressing sulfur content
Birmingham, AL has 2 counties that requires an RVP of 7.0 psi.
East St. Louis, IL has 3 counties (near St. Louis, MO) that requires an RVP of 7.2 psi.
Pittsburgh, PA has 7 county areas that requires an RVP of 7.8 psi.
Clark and Floyd, IN, 2 counties near Louisville, KY requires an RVP of 7.8 psi
Detroit, MI has 7 counties that requires an RVP of 7.8 psi
Southern, ME has 7 county areas that requires an RVP of 7.8 psi.
Central and Eastern TX has 95 county areas that requires an EVP of 7.8, extended from May 1 to October 1
In Eastern TX, including Houston and Dallas areas, there are 110 counties that require low emission diesel fuel with maximum 10% volume aromatic hydrocarbon content and minimum cetane of 48 required. The regulations allow substitute plans with equivalent Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) reductions.
Las Vegas, NV has regulations on winter gasoline controls on aromatic hydrocarbon and sulfur.
The President asked the EPA to look at boutique fuels because there are accusations being made that boutique fuels are increasing the price of gasoline. The EPA report did not reveal any studies or empirical data confirming that boutique fuels presently contribute to higher fuel prices or present unusual distribution problems. The report also said that the oil companies were able to provide adequate quantities of boutique fuels, as long as there are no disruptions in the supply chain.
There were several general messages presented by the automotive and engine manufacturing sector: