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Senate Committee Oks Bills Dealing with Potential Gasoline Shortage in Western PA

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously reported out legislation designed to help alleviate a potential gasoline shortage in Western PA.

Senate Bill 1386, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) amends the Air Pollution Control Act, repealing the requirements for low-RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) gasoline in the Pittsburgh region and Stage II vapor controls.

During the meeting, Vogel explained that a seven-county region in southwest Pennsylvania is required to use a special summer blend of gasoline, and due to the closure of refineries in the southeast, there are concerns that enough summer blend will not be available. Therefore, the bill seeks to eliminate the special requirement.

Federal standards have limited the RVP of gasoline sold in the region during the “high ozone season.” RVP’s are blended seasonally to maintain gasoline engine reliability. Last fall, the EPA responded to a request from Governor Corbett and waived the 7.8 psi RVP requirement for the Pittsburgh region due to the lack of available fuel at that lower RVP.

Committee Chair Mary Jo White (R-Venango) also noted that state DEP Secretary Mike Krancer has some concerns with the bill, but has agreed to look at the special gas plan.

The committee also agreed to Senate Bill 1398, sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), which extends the sunset of the Underground Storage Tank Environmental Cleanup Program from 2012 to 2017.