Boutique Fuels By Lou Ann Hammond
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 the EPA, “Boutique fuels are specialized blends produced for a specific state or area of the country to meet state and local air quality requirements. Boutique fuels deliver substantial air quality and public health benefit’s at minimal costs – ranging from three-tenths of a cent to three cents per gallon. Howe’ver, these unique fuels may present serious challenges to the fuel distribution system and, especially in times of disruption, may have the potential to result in local supply shortages.”Boutique fuels are created, usually in urban areas to create a better air quality in those areas. Boutique fuels are often cited for an increase in the price of gas and a limiting of supply. According to the EPA report, this is not correct, so, basically, everything stays status quo.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:
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.