Frequent Questions

What are the legal criteria and conditions for fuels waivers?

The criteria and conditions for fuels waivers are specified in Clean Air Act Section 211(c)(4)(C), which provides as follows:

(ii) The Administrator may temporarily waive a control or prohibition respecting the use of a fuel or fuel additive ... if, after consultation with, and concurrence by, the Secretary of Energy, the Administrator determines that--

    (I) extreme and unusual fuel or fuel additive supply circumstances exist in a State or region of the Nation which prevent the distribution of an adequate supply of the fuel or fuel additive to consumers;

    (II) such extreme and unusual fuel and fuel additive supply circumstances are the result of a natural disaster, an Act of God, a pipeline or refinery equipment failure, or another event that could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented and not the lack of prudent planning on the part of the suppliers of the fuel or fuel additive to such State or region; and

    (III) it is in the public interest to grant the waiver (for example, when a waiver is necessary to meet projected temporary shortfalls in the supply of the fuel or fuel additive in a State or region of the Nation which cannot otherwise be compensated for).

(iii) If the Administrator makes the determinations required under clause (ii), such a temporary extreme and unusual fuel and fuel additive supply circumstances waiver shall be permitted only if--

    (I) the waiver applies to the smallest geographic area necessary to address the extreme and unusual fuel and fuel additive supply circumstances;

    (II) the waiver is effective for a period of 20 calendar days or, if the Administrator determines that a shorter waiver period is adequate, for the shortest practicable time period necessary to permit the correction of the extreme and unusual fuel and fuel additive supply circumstances and to mitigate impact on air quality;

    (III) the waiver permits a transitional period, the exact duration of which shall be determined by the Administrator (but which shall be for the shortest practicable period), after the termination of the temporary waiver to permit wholesalers and retailers to blend down their wholesale and retail inventory;

    (IV) the waiver applies to all persons in the motor fuel distribution system; and

    (V) the Administrator has given public notice to all parties in the motor fuel distribution system, and local and State regulators, in the State or region to be covered by the waiver.

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