Just because gasoline with MTBE is still being sold doesnt mean you have
to buy it. As you recall, MTBE is the gasoline additive that poses a threat to
groundwater and drinking water. The State of California originally banned the
additive as of December 31, 2002. However in March 2002, under intense oil industry
lobbying, the Governor postponed the phaseout date for another year.
All Union 76 gas is MTBE free as is gas from Aptos Shell Service and Larrys
Shell in Scotts Valley. All gas stations in Santa Cruz County were polled by the
Department of Environmental Health. Check the label on the gas pumps you use to
According to the Wall St. Journal, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
has proposed three fuel economy increases for light trucks and SUVs of 0.5 miles
per gallon over three years starting with model year 2005, for a total increase
of just 1.5 miles per gallon.
The news was enough to make Sierra Club eyes roll. Daniel Becker, Director of
Sierra Clubs Global Warming and Energy Program said, If President
Bush is serious about reducing our oil dependence and saving consumers money at
the gas pump, he should tell the automakers to reach a fleet average of 40 miles
per gallonwhich can be done right now with existing technology.
Last year the Bush Administration opposed plans to significantly increase fuel
economy. The Kerry-Hollings-McCain amendment to the Energy Bill would have set
Corporate Average Fuel Economy at 36 miles per gallon by 2015, and would have
saved one million barrels of oil per day by 2016more than we import from
Kuwait and Iraq combined. Instead, the Administration supported a measure to leave
the decision up to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which has
now drafted this extremely weak proposal.
Increasing the fuel economy of cars and SUVs is the biggest single step
the United States can take to reduce our oil dependence and global warming pollution,
said Becker. At a time when oil dependence plays a large role in our foreign
policy, the Administration should support real fuel economy increases.
Bad news for breathers
The Bush Administration announced in late November it is weakening a part of the
Clean Air Act called New Source Review. The result of this weakening will be increases
in the air pollution that has been linked to asthma, heart disease and premature
New Source Review is the part of the Clean Air Act that requires older factories
to install modern pollution control technology when they make a change that increases
pollution. The program has been instrumental in controlling pollution from older
refineries, power plants and other factories. These older facilities release four
to ten times more pollution, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury,
than modern plants. Studies have linked these pollutants to serious health effects,
including increased rates of asthma, heart disease, and premature death.
As we go to press we learn that the Sierra Club, the International Center for
Technology Assessment, and Greenpeace are suing the EPA for its continued failure
to take action on global warming. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to
limit all air pollution from automobiles that may reasonably be anticipated
to endanger public health or welfare.
Legal action was filed more than three years after environmentalists submitted
a formal petition to the EPA demanding that it abide by the Clean Air Act and
protect public health by regulating global warming pollution. After delaying for
over a year, the EPA opened a public comment period that ended in May 2001. During
the comment period the agency received 50,000 comments, the vast majority of which
strongly agreed that global warming should be addressed. But a year and a half
later, the EPA still has failed to act.