Wednesday, July 06, 2005

GAO scrutinizes costs of gas blends

While Federal regulations require that gasoline be blended in order to reduce air pollution, a new report by the Government Accounting Office asks, "at what cost?"

The Government Accountability Office said the sheer number of gasoline recipes around the country -- the report said there are at least a dozen -- has had a sweeping effect throughout the gasoline production process.

"The proliferation of special gasoline blends has made it more complicated to supply gasoline and has raised costs, significantly affecting operations at refineries, pipelines and storage terminals," the GAO reported.

The problem is likely to worsen in coming years as stricter smog standards go into effect and states begin looking to new gasoline blends to help meet those standards, the report said.

In California, which has the strictest gasoline formulation requirements, the fuel specifications add 5 cents to 8 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to state officials.