Bush eases environmental rules on gasoline
Updated: 2006-04-26 19:41
Bush resisted calls for a suspension of shipments to the reserve in the past.
When his 2004 presidential opponent, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., suggested the
same idea during the campaign, Bush called it "playing politics."
On Tuesday, Bush said the nation's 685-million barrel petroleum reserve had
enough fuel to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few
The president said Democrats in the past have urged higher taxes on fuel and
price caps to control fuel expenses, but he said neither approach works.
Instead, he called for increased conservation, an expansion of domestic
production and increased use of alternative fuels such as ethanol.
David Friedman of the Union of Concerned Scientists said an even more
effective move would be to require that vehicles sold in the United States get
higher gas mileage.
"The fundamental problem is that the fuel economy of cars and trucks is a
disgrace and the world is just consuming too much oil and gasoline," Friedman
The EPA said it will consider fuel waivers on a case-by-case basis if
gasoline supply problems become apparent, which could result in price spikes or
shortages of cleaner summer-blend gasoline.
EPA spokesman John Millett said the waivers would not adversely impact air
quality because they are only for 20 days, although states can request
Refiners, meanwhile, said that most of the change to summer-blend gasoline
already has been completed and waivers may not be needed ¡ª and might even be
counterproductive in some cases.
"You're going to have to be careful that you're not upsetting a plan that
already is in the last stage of implementation," said Bob Slaughter, president
of National Petrochemical Refiners Association.