DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
[Filed April 28, 2020, 9:03 a.m.]
On April 27, 2020, a policy statement regarding the Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) delaying enforcement of summer gasoline volatility specifications was signed. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated precautions, fuel demand has decreased substantially across the nation. Fuel suppliers are currently storing more of the winter blend high volatility gasoline than anticipated. This situation is preventing fuel suppliers from transitioning the supply to summer lower volatility gasoline on the timeline required by ASTM standards. Therefore, in order to avoid potential fuel supply disruptions, WSDA will continue to provide compliance flexibility for April blend high volatility gasoline to move through the supply chain from May 1 - 31, 2020.
A copy of the policy statement may be obtained by accessing our website or by contacting Gloriann Robinson, Agency Rules Coordinator, 1111 Washington Street S.E., P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone 360-902-1802, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject: Gasoline Volatility Requirements Enforcement in May 2020.
Supersedes: Not applicable.
Contact: Tim Elliott, motor fuel quality and enforcement manager, email email@example.com, phone 360-902-1984.
Approved By: Derek I. Sandison, director.
Date Approved: April 27, 2020.
WSDA will continue to allow April blend high volatility gasoline to be distributed and sold from May 1 - 31, 2020, in order to avoid potential gasoline supply disruptions.
Background: Volatility is the property of a liquid fuel that defines its evaporation characteristics. ASTM International (ASTM) establishes national volatility specifications for fuel and standard testing procedures. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes volatility control periods that prohibit the sale, supply, dispensing or transport of gasoline whose volatility exceeds standards. The regulations specify the volatility standard by geographical area and time period in which the gasoline is intended to be dispensed to motor vehicles.
On March 27, 2020, EPA, in consultation with the United States Department of Energy, issued a waiver of certain fuel volatility standards to address oversupply issues for winter high volatility fuels (40 C.F.R. Section 80.27). The federal agencies determined that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated precautions, fuel demand has decreased substantially across the nation, and suppliers are currently storing more of the winter blend high volatility gasoline than anticipated. This situation could prevent fuel suppliers from being able to turn over the supply to summer lower volatility fuels on the timeline required by the standards and prevent the distribution of an adequate supply of compliant gasoline to consumers.
WSDA's fuel volatility standards, published under chapter 16-662 WAC, required a transition to lower volatility gasoline beginning April 1, with another step down scheduled for May 1.
On April 1, 2020, the WSDA issued Policy Statement PP-20-0001 to avoid potential fuel supply disruptions by enforcing the March ASTM D4814 Class E-5/D-4 requirements on gasoline in the distribution system and at retail locations from April 1 - 30.
In order to avoid potential fuel supply disruptions and subject to the conditions below:
|•||WSDA will allow gasoline meeting April ASTM D4814 Class D-4 requirements to be introduced into terminal storage tanks from which gasoline is dispensed for distribution to retail outlets or wholesale purchasers until May 20, 2020.|
|•||WSDA will allow gasoline meeting April ASTM D4814 Class D-4 requirements intended for distribution to retail outlets or wholesale purchasers to be stored in terminal storage tanks, distributed from terminal storage tanks, and sold until May 31, 2020.|
|•||WSDA will allow retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers to continue selling or dispensing gasoline meeting April ASTM D4814 Class D-4 requirements until May 31, 2020.|
This policy statement is only applicable to gasoline meeting the following conditions:
|•||The gasoline was produced before May 1, 2020.|
|•||The gasoline is not blended with butane at the terminal.|
WSDA will continue to coordinate with the department of ecology and department of commerce's energy emergency management director to ensure that impacts to air quality are minimized and that the transition of the fuel supply is implemented consistent with the needs of the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (ESF-12).