WASHINGTON – Today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan issued an emergency fuel waiver to address a fuel supply emergency in Florida caused by Hurricane Idalia.
On August 29, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 49 counties to prepare for potentially devastating impacts to multiple population centers throughout the state from Hurricane Idalia. Storm preparations have resulted in the closure of multiple ports in the state that receive fuel and have restricted and interrupted fuel terminal operations, preventing an adequate supply of gasoline. In addition, evacuations—including mandatory evacuations—are straining available supplies. Waiving federal requirements to sell summer gasoline can help address these supply shortages.
The EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have been actively monitoring the supply of fuel. The EPA has concluded, with DOE’s concurrence, that it is necessary to waive federal requirements to sell summer gasoline to minimize or prevent the disruption of an adequate supply of gasoline to consumers throughout Florida. This waiver only applies to the federal fuel standards. Regulated parties must continue to comply with any applicable state or local requirements, or restrictions related to this matter, unless waived by the appropriate authorities. The waiver is effective August 30, 2023, and will continue through September 15, 2023.
Federal Clean Air Act regulations require fuel refiners, importers, distributors, resellers, terminal owners and operators, and carriers to switch from selling higher volatility winter gasoline to lower volatility summer gasoline during the summer months to limit the formation of ozone pollution.
To mitigate any impacts on air quality, the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuel waivers may be granted to help ensure minimal, if any, short term impacts on air quality, including limiting waivers as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.
As required by law, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation in Florida.