Bill Would Avert Disruption of Fuel Supply

A bill introduced May 17 in the United States House of Representatives will prevent fuel supply disruption and price spikes, according to the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO). The Clean Diesel Fuel Provider Relief Act would strike the federal rule provision that phases in the low-sulfur diesel by 2010, resulting in the manufacture, sale, and use of two separate grades of highway diesel for four years. Instead, the bill would switch all highway diesel to a cleaner, ultra-low- sulfur fuel at once in 2006.

Sponsored by Reps Ed Bryant (R-TN) and Bart Gordon (D-TN), the bill comes on the heels of an Energy Information Administration report warning that supply crunches are likely under a phase-in approach.

“The truckstop and travel plaza industry will vigorously support the Clean Diesel Fuel Provider Relief Act,” said NATSO President W Dewey Clower. “With our nation's energy challenges, it would be foolhardy to phase in the new fuel, which would only cause price spikes and supply shortages.”

Oklahoma marketer and PMAA Chairman Bill Maxwell said, “Congress really needs to fix the diesel rule problems. As a marketer, there is no feasible way for me to handle two on-road diesels without making costly investments in new tanks and pumps. There is no way I could recover the investment in four years. If the phase-in is not eliminated, the costs for diesel fuel will be high and it will hurt my customers.”

During legislative conferences over the past few weeks, members of PMAA and NATSO told the bill's sponsors that truckstop owners and retail petroleum businesses would have to make major capital investments to be able to store two different types of fuel — only to have that investment lost entirely when only the new fuel is on the market.

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