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REFINERS HAVE MORE TIME TO PRODUCE LOW SULFUR GASOLINE WHILE PRESERVING CLEAN AIR BENEFITS

Release Date: 05/04/2001
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2001

REFINERS HAVE MORE TIME TO PRODUCE LOW SULFUR
GASOLINE WHILE PRESERVING CLEAN AIR BENEFITS

Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824; milbourn.cathy@epa.gov



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman today announced that the Agency is giving two refiners greater flexibility to produce cleaner, low sulfur gasoline. Giving these two refiners additional time to reduce the levels of sulfur in gasoline for passenger vehicles, also will help them to meet the deadline to produce low sulfur diesel fuel for heavy duty trucks and buses by June 1, 2006.

The refiners, the National Cooperative Refining Association (NCRA) in Kansas and Wyoming Refining in Wyoming, requested and were granted flexibility under a provision in EPA’s Tier 2 program to produce cleaner vehicles and gasoline. The refiners will be subject to temporary, less stringent interim gasoline sulfur limits. This relief also allows refiners additional time, two and one- half to four years, depending on each refiner’s specific financial hardship to meet the sulfur standards in gasoline.

“The relief I am granting today will give these refiners the ability to continue providing gasoline to consumers while moving ahead to provide cleaner air for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Whitman. “This approach is consistent with our goal to take actions that help businesses reduce harmful air pollution to create a strong, healthy environment.”

The cleaner fuels and vehicles program, finalized in December 1999, requires passenger vehicles to be 77 to 95 percent cleaner than those on the road today and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline by up to 90 percent. When the new tailpipe and sulfur standards are fully implemented, Americans will benefit from the clean air equivalent of removing 164 million cars from the road each year.

The Tier 2 program has a hardship provision for refiners who have difficulty meeting the 30 parts per million refinery average for sulfur in gasoline. This provision allows refiners to request additional time and flexibility to meet these sulfur standards. This provision is one of a number of compliance options that are designed to ensure supply of low sulfur gasoline across the country while maintaining the environmental benefits of the program.

A recently approved Bush Administration program to make heavy-duty trucks and buses run cleaner contains similar provisions. This program will also reduce sulfur in highway diesel fuel. Both refiners are planning to comply with the 2006 highway diesel sulfur requirements on time.

The Agency has two recently adopted programs for reducing emissions: one is for cleaner passenger vehicles and cleaner gasoline; and the other is for cleaner diesel fuel and cleaner heavy-duty trucks and buses. The first program, called Tier 2 for the first time addresses tailpipe emissions and gasoline as a single system. Beginning in 2004, emission standards for light-duty trucks, mini-vans and SUV’s will be the same as automobiles. And by 2005, sulfur will be reduced in gasoline to an average level of 30 ppm.

The second program will reduce sulfur in highway diesel fuel used in heavy- duty trucks and buses from its current level of 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million by June 1, 2006. By model year 2007, heavy-duty trucks and buses will have harmful pollution cut by 95 percent. Sulfur in diesel fuel must be lowered to enable modern pollution-control technology to be effective on these trucks and buses.

Information on the Tier 2 program is available at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tr2home.htm. Information on heavy-duty diesel trucks and bus program is found at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/hd-hwy.htm.

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