press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Seeks Changes To Reformulated Gasolines

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1, 1997 - Chevron today appealed to Congress and California regulators to allow cleaner-burning gasolines to be made without requiring oxygenates such as MTBE.

"Oxygenates in gasoline do little to reduce smog, but they have raised legitimate environmental concerns about MTBE in groundwater and are causing our customers to question the benefits of an important product, Cleaner Burning Gasoline," said Dave O'Reilly, president of Chevron Products Co.

The company has concluded that it may be possible to make a cleaner burning gasoline without oxygenates, and still reduce emissions to the same extent achieved with current standards, which have been very effective in reducing vehicle emissions.

"We don't have all the answers yet," said O'Reilly, "but with regulatory flexibility, we believe solutions can be found.

"We're asking Congress to eliminate a mandate for oxygenates. We are also asking the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to create the regulatory flexibility to allow oxygenate-free gasoline to be sold statewide," he said.

Chevron continues to assess its facilities and procedures for handling gasoline in order to reduce the possibility of spills.

"We are committed to preventing the release of gasoline - whether or not it contains oxygenates - into groundwater," O'Reilly said.

While Chevron believes MTBE is not a public health threat and is safe if handled properly, the company recognizes the growing public concern.

"We want to supply Chevron's customers with products that meet or exceed all clean-air standards but do not cause them concern," said O'Reilly.

Federal law mandates that oxygenates be in California's cleaner-burning gasoline in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Chevron supports legislation to remove that mandate and also urges the industry to work cooperatively with California regulators to explore options for reducing or eliminating MTBE altogether.

Since the addition of oxygen to gasoline does help reduce carbon monoxide emissions, there may still be a need to continue some form of oxygenated gasoline in wintertime in the Los Angeles area, which fails to meet the federal carbon monoxide standard.

Updated: December 1997