EPA Takes Action to Prevent Gas and Diesel Shortages Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington D.C. – On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced several steps the Agency is taking to protect the Nation’s gasoline supply in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

EPA says it will provide additional flexibility to the marketplace to transition from winter-grade, high volatility gasoline to summer-grade low vapor pressure gasoline.

“Due to the steep fall-off in gasoline demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, gasoline storage capacity is limited and more time is needed to transition the distribution system in order to come into compliance for the summer driving season,” EPA said in a statement.

 

EPA is temporarily waiving the summer low volatility requirements and blending limitations for gasoline.

Without a waiver of the summer gasoline requirements, parties upstream of retailers and wholesale purchasers would be required to stop selling the winter gasoline sitting in their storage tanks on May 1, 2020, which would prevent them from loading summer gasoline into the storage tanks, resulting in a shortage of gasoline.

By waiving the low volatility and blending limitations through May 20, 2020, EPA says it will ensure a “steady supply of gasoline.”

Further, EPA says it will continue to monitor the adequacy of gasoline supplies and, should conditions warrant, may modify or extend this waiver at a later date.

 

The waivers come only a few days after the American Trucking Associations (ATA) sent a letter to the EPA requesting such regulatory relief be granted and warning if it did not, the country would likely be faced with a gasoline and diesel shortage.

“During these exceptionally trying times, it is critical for our country to remove all impediments for trucking companies to keep delivering the nation’s supply of food, medicine and other essentialities,” the ATA letter said. “With more than 80% of U.S. communities relying exclusively on trucks for their freight needs, we must ensure the trucking industry’s fuel supplies keep flowing to the more than 600,000 interstate motor carriers nationwide.”

 

The ATA was joined in its request by the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO), Petroleum Marketers Association of America and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

Photo courtesy NATSO

 


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