Summer gas requirements waived in face of Harvey damage

 A flare stack puts out a flame at a refinery near an area hit by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

A flare stack puts out a flame at a refinery near an area hit by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Environmental Protection Agency has ended summer fuel requirements early for states affected by fuel disruptions due to Hurricane Harvey, in Texas.

The ruling will affect several states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 

 

Summer fuel is a special blend of gasoline that doesn’t evaporate as readily as winter mixes, thereby reducing pollution in the hot summer months. It takes extra steps to mix and is more expensive to produce and get to market.

But refining capacity is down due to the massive floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Add to that, sections of the Colonial pipeline, which transports fuel from Texas to the Northeast U.S., are shut down as a result of the storm. In waiving the summer gas requirements, which would normally run until September 15th, EPA’s Scott Pruitt hopes to keep drivers gassed up with enough fuel.

Fuel waivers are issued to address shortages of gas, not prices. But AAA’s Jana Tidwell said driver will welcome the slightly lower cost of winter gas.

“When you are looking at gas prices that have increased double digits in the past week, that’s a huge increase. So every little bit of savings at the pump is definitely going to help,” Tidwell said.   

In Philadelphia, gas prices have gone up 36 cents per gallon in the past week. In South Jersey they’re up 43 cents per gallon, and in Delaware 49 cents. 

“The good news for motorists, especially in the mid-Atlantic region, is things should level out and balance themselves out by the end of September,” Tidwell said. “Of course all of that is said with one caveat. We are in what has become a pretty active hurricane season.”

The Colonial pipeline is planning to resume moving gasoline on Tuesday. 

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