EPA Fuel Regs Eased for Storm-Struck States
— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a temporary easing of fuel regulations for states hit by Hurricane Katrina, in order to prevent gasoline and diesel shortages, according to a Reuters report. Prices of gasoline and diesel skyrocketed after the powerful storm slammed into the Gulf Coast last week, forcing nine refineries to cease operations, closing major fuel pipelines and cutting nearly all oil production offshore. The fuel waiver for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi will allow fuel suppliers to sell gasoline that has a higher Reid Vapor Pressure and diesel that has higher sulfur content than normally allowed. Wholesale gasoline prices soared Aug. 30 above $3 a gallon in the Gulf Coast region, spelling much higher prices at the pumps in days to come.