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Senate Passes Bill Aimed to Repeal Costly Gas Mandate
On March 8, 2012
HARRISBURG, March 7, 2012 – State Sen. Tim Solobay today praised Senate passage of a bill intended to prevent price spikes and a possible gas shortage in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“The vote today is an important step in reviewing outdated fuel mandates that are hurting consumers and businesses in the region,” Solobay said. “These mandates have been a growing problem in recent years and the closure of fuel refineries in the southeastern part of the state makes this effort more urgent.”
Solobay and Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence), are co-sponsors of Senate Bill 1386, which is aimed at ending the requirement for summer-fuel blends in seven Pittsburgh-area counties.
Since 1996, gas retailers in those counties have been required to sell a unique blend of gasoline with lower evaporation rates to prevent pollution in hot weather. The regional blends required under the regulations have become increasingly scarce, causing price spikes and low supplies.
The announcement that three major oil refineries in southeastern Pennsylvania will suspend operations has raised concern of extreme shortages and high prices this summer.
Before today’s vote, Solobay told his colleagues on the Senate floor that the regulation’s limited effectiveness at preventing pollution will be undone by short supplies.
“There are more than 2 million people in the counties affected by this regulation, and most of them are a 20 mile drive away from a gas station outside the regulations,” he said. “When a gas shortage hits, people are not going to stay home from work and wait for the next delivery. They’re going to go find gas.”
The resulting consumption, he said, is likely to outweigh any limited benefit from the summer-gas requirements.
“We’re in a radically different place now than we were when these requirements were established in the 90′s. It’s time to modernize the law to reflect the modernization of the automobile industry,” Solobay said. “It’s time to end these outdated mandates and provide relief for our taxpayers who are already staring at $4.00 gallons of gasoline.”
The affected counties are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Washington.