EPA Eases Fuel Regulations for Storm-Hit States
Prices of gasoline and diesel have skyrocketed since the powerful storm slammed into the Gulf Coast on Monday, forcing shut nine refineries, closing major fuel pipelines and cutting nearly all oil production offshore.
The fuel waiver for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi will allow fuel suppliers to sell gasoline that has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure and diesel that has higher sulfur content than normally allowed.
Wholesale gasoline prices soared Tuesday above $3 a gallon in the Gulf Coast region, spelling much higher prices at the pumps in days to come. The national average pump price is around $2.60 a gallon.
This is "a natural disaster, that could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented and not attributable to a lack of prudent planning on the part of the suppliers of the fuel to these affected States," the EPA said in a release.
The waiver will temporarily allow refiners to supply gasoline meeting a Reid Vapor Pressure standard of 9.0 and diesel with sulfur content higher than 500 parts per million.
This waiver is effective until Sept. 15.