US Environmental Protection Agency approves emergency fuel exemption in Texas after refinery outage
(Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an emergency air quality waiver through June 6 to boost gasoline supplies in East Texas after cutting production at a regional refinery.
The waiver allows sale of high-volatility winter gasoline in 34 counties of Texas. The Biden administration has released emergency oil stocks and is considering lifting nationwide smog rules to combat rising fuel prices.
The waivers are usually issued after hurricanes or other disasters that cut the fuel supply on a large scale rather than because of outages at a single refinery, as in the case of Texas.
The EPA said the Texas Environmental Quality Commission, the state’s air pollution regulator, requested the exemption because supplies in 34 counties were affected by outages at the Delek US Holdings oil refinery in Tyler, Texas.
Dilek did not respond to requests for comment. Its small Tyler refinery processes about 75,000 barrels per day of crude oil into gasoline, diesel and propane, according to its website. A spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the agency was unable to respond to questions over the weekend. The EPA said in a statement that the waiver is effective immediately.
A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.26 on Sunday, up from $2.77 a year ago. The national average is $4.61 a gallon, according to the AAA Motorists Group.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)