No Problems Reported as Southern California Switches to Federal RFG
Federal reformulated gasoline (federal RFG) has been flowing through pipelines and retail nozzles in southern
California for over a month
The area's 5,000+ service stations have
Spokespersons for the refineries making
federal RFG confirmed that the switch has been "blissfully uneventful." However, some observed that stable or falling prices at the pump means that producers haven't begun to recoup their capital investment needed to produce federal RFG.
While U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials were confident that the intro- duction of the new fuel would go smoothly, they are breathing easier now that the deadline has past. "We have not had any reports of
INSIDE --- CALIFORNIA RFG FORUM
Federal RFG: A Preliminary Assessment------------------2
Public Education: RFG in the News------------------------2
Viewpoint: George Sverdrup, FedEx Fleet Study--------3
performance problems," said Dave Schmidt, a spokesman for EPA's San Francisco office.
For more information, call Sylvia Dugre (U.S. EPA, Region IX) at (415) 744-1224.
ARB Test Plans Final;
With the kickoff of the Air Resources Board's (ARB) California RFG Performance and Compatibility Test Program (Test Program) coming in February, it won't be long before more than 1,000 cars and trucks as well as other vehicles and equipment will put California Phase 2 reformulated gasoline (California RFG) to the test. The contract for test fuel production and distribution is in place, test fleets have been selected in northern and southern California, and the testing protocol is final. Ship the fuel and start your engines.
Phillips 66 Company has produced the first 150,000 gallons of California RFG fuel in Texas. In February, the test fuel will be transported by railway to California and delivered to over 12 northern and southern California test sites.
For about six months, between February and August 1995, selected vehicles, boats, and utility equipment will use this test fuel exclusively. Participating vehicle fleets include the City and County of Sacramento, CalTrans, Bank of America, GTE California, Pacific Bell, and California State University, Fresno. Additional fleets are expected to be added to augment testing activities. Light-duty automobiles and medium and heavy-duty trucks, representing a wide range of
Federal RFG: A Preliminary
The California Energy Commission issued the
Supply -- There is a more than adequate
Terminal Deliveries -- Information on deliveries to pipeline terminals indicates that sufficient product was available in volumes similar to previous years.
Market Dynamics -- The current price of federal RFG is lower than
might have been expected to recover investments for making the new product. The wholesale price of federal RFG
in Los Angeles is less than the
Other Issues -- There were no reported mechanical problems at the refineries
and the transition was considered by most to be a re- latively smooth one. Although there was some apprehension
about the adequacy of segregated storage of additional gasoline
The most common complaint regarding the transition to federal RFG was in reference to administrative burden -- with the resulting finan- cial burden -- of the federal reporting require- ments, including difficulty in interpreting some of the regulatory requirements and a large volume of associated paperwork.
Feds Put RFG in the News
Since late-November, articles on federal RFG
While the focus has been on the introduction of federal RFG in southern California, many articles end on the note that California RFG is coming next year. Not surprisingly, price is a big part of the story.
Focus is on Price -- The effect of federal RFG on gasoline prices has been a prominent theme in most articles, if not the headline. Before the retail sale of federal RFG started, the story was higher production costs and expected higher prices. Now that federal RFG is on sale and prices haven't changed or, in some cases, have gone down, the story is "expected higher prices." Newspaper journalists are becoming familiar with RFG and are telling their readers that someday cleaner gasoline will probably cost more.
RFG PR at the Pump -- Oil companies have launched campaigns across the country to educate consumers about federal RFG and polish their corporate images. The Lundberg Letter, a bi-monthly collection of statistics and analysis for the oil marketing industries, devoted part of its December 20 edition to "Deciphering an Industry Message: RFG `PR` At the Pump." The article includes a summary of what a dozen major gasoline suppliers are doing to publicize federal RFG. It also notes that many trade associations involved with the sale of gasoline have published a wide range of materials on federal RFG.
The Air Resources Board (ARB) has pub-
The ARB and its Phase 2 RFG Public Education Subcommittee are publishing a fact sheet on California RFG testing programs.
CALIFORNIA RFG INFORMATION
For additional copies of California RFG Forum, California RFG Fact Sheets, or questions about RFG, call (800) ARB-HLP2 (inside Calif.) or (916) 323-3336 (outside Calif.) or fax (916) 445-5023.
The Motor Vehicle Fuels Manual is available through ARB's Compliance Assistance Program. Written for technical and environmental personnel, the manual contains the latest fuel regulations -- including California Phase 2 RFG. To order a copy, please contact Michele Vale at (916) 327-7211.
Project Leader Presents Preliminary
by Dr. George Sverdrup, Battelle -- Since
Fuels Studied -- The $16 million study, funded by a public-private consortium of 19 sponsoring agencies and companies, is one of the first comprehensive, side-by-side evaluations of alternative motor vehicle fuels. Its purpose is to evaluate air emissions, costs, maintenance, durability, reliability, safety, and performance of commercial vehicles operated on one of five alternative fuels. These include California RFG, methanol as M-85 (85% methanol and 15% California RFG), propane gas, compressed natural gas, electricity, and regular unleaded gasoline as the control fuel.
During the study period from June 1992 through September 1994, 111 Federal Express delivery vans were operated day-in and day-out on the various fuels -- traveling over three million miles in the Los Angeles area. As a result, we gathered extensive data from the study. So far, we have distributed five topical reports (on subjects ranging from emissions to engine oil analysis) and seven data reports. In the spring, we will release a detailed estimate of the costs of infrastructure, ownership, and operation for the five fuels.
CALIFORNIA RFG FORUM is published quarterly by the California Air
Resources Board in cooperation with the Phase 2 Reformulated Gasoline Advisory Committee.
Preliminary Findings -- I recently presented our key preliminary findings at a news conference in Los Angeles. Of special interest to RFG Forum readers are the twenty-one vans, fueled with California RFG, that were each driven over 18,000 miles. The ozone-forming potential of the emissions from these vans averaged from 12 to 38 percent less than control vehicles, depending on the vehicle make. We also found that vans operating on California RFG performed as reliably as those vans fueled with conventional, unleaded gasoline. Overall, we found that all the alternative fuels tested emitted carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and nonmethane organic gases at levels less than or near those found in vans using conventional unleaded gasoline.
Between now and July 1995, the project team will analyze data and prepare a final report. Data and reports are available from Battelle at (614) 424-4062.
Dr. George Sverdrup is Program Manager at Battelle, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201-2693.
Performance Cont. from page 1
engines and equipment, will be tested. All vehicles fueled with California RFG will be compared to control vehicles fueled with conventional gasoline. The fleets will include some pre-1985, light-duty vehicles which may be sensitive to changes in fuel composition and therefore should be evaluated. In addition to the on-road vehicles, a variety of agricultural and landscaping vehicles and equipment will receive the test fuel.
Other tests of California RFG have already begun. Many equipment manufacturers are testing California RFG in a wide range of on-road and off-road motor vehicle engines and fuel system components, both in the laboratory and in the field.
RFG & HEALTH
California RFG Reduces Volatile Organic Compounds*
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are one of the many poll