Ethanol Industry Group Urges Use in California

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has urged the operator of California’s only common carrier pipeline system to allow shipments of gasoline blended with ethanol. Several California refiners have expressed a desire to switch from MTBE to ethanol blends by the end of the year, prompting the RFA action.

WASHINGTON, D.C. 2002-04-05 [] If the carrier, Kinder Morgan, decides to allow only MTBE-blended gasoline through their pipelines, oil companies will feel compelled to continue using MTBE, instead of switching to ethanol, according to the RFA. “According to several news reports, four of California’s six major oil companies prefer to switch from MTBE to ethanol this year,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president. “Kinder Morgan has stated they could accommodate both fuels and was recently quoted saying, ‘They’re [oil companies] our customers. We’ll do what they want.’ We are writing to urge Kinder Morgan to follow up on their public comments. The message is clear. The majority of California oil companies want to use ethanol. Kinder Morgan should accommodate their needs. By doing so, the opportunities for further MTBE drinking water contamination can be reduced.” “In the aftermath of California Governor Gray Davis’ decision to delay the MTBE phase out, several oil companies have expressed a preference to move forward with their plans to eliminate the use of MTBE in the state as originally scheduled,” Dinneen wrote in a letter to Kinder Morgan Chairman Richard Kinder. “As the sole common carrier pipeline operating in California, however, your company’s decisions will to a large extent determine whether those oil companies preferring to use ethanol will indeed be able to do so. Consequently, I am writing to urge you to allow gasoline blendstocks for ethanol to be shipped on the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, thereby providing refiners and consumers in California access to MTBE-free gasoline.”
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