As Americans grapple with high summer fuel costs, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) reintroduced the "Gas Accessibility and Stabilization" (GAS) Act today to reduce gas price spikes by improving the reliability, flexibility, and affordability of so-called "boutique fuels."
The provision -- which Blunt has championed on numerous occasions during his time serving in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate -- is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dan Coats (Ind.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.), and Rob Portman (Ohio).
In order to help lower fuel prices, the GAS Act further broadens periods where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant a waiver to a community to use whatever fuel they have on hand if there is a disruption. The waiver would be automatically approved if the EPA fails to respond to the request within three days. The bill also calls on the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a Fuel Harmonization Study, as directed by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, to determine the status of boutique fuel programs and their impact on supply, reliability, and gas prices.
"Simplifying our fuel blends just makes sense. Someone traveling across the state of Missouri could fill up with one blend of fuel in St. Louis, and a different blend of fuel in Kansas City. If one blend is in short supply, the other blend is not acceptable as a replacement -- forcing consumers to pay more in different locations," said Blunt. "This bill is a step in the right direction to help lower costs and provide more flexibility for consumers in Missouri and nationwide."
"Indiana's fuel prices are among the highest in the nation, and Hoosiers are feeling pain at the pump," said Coats. "While this legislation does not address every energy challenge facing our nation, it will provide the flexibility needed to help level out price fluctuations. Our country needs common-sense solutions like the GAS Act to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"The GAS Act is designed to reduce the regulatory burden, which shrinks supply and drives up the cost of fuel for consumers and businesses," said Hoeven. "This legislation enables different fuel types to be moved from region to region when demand grows and supplies are short, helping to hold down prices."
"Chicagoland gas prices are subject to price fluctuations in part because individual geographic areas are required to have their own unique fuel blends," said Kirk. "You cannot buy the same gasoline in Chicago as you can in St. Louis because of federal regulations, which create a rigidity in the gasoline market and consequently, higher prices. Our legislation will break up these geographic monopolies, increase flexibility and allow gas prices for everyone to become more affordable."
"As families across Ohio continue to struggle through a weak economy, the last thing they need to deal with is escalating gas prices," said Portman. "By giving communities the flexibility to use different blends based on supply demands, this bill takes a commonsense step to reduce costs at the pump."