PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Environmental Protection Agency is promising to expedite the end of “summer gas” and its higher price in Allegheny County.
In a release, the EPA put the onus for the delay on Allegheny County, which County Executive Rich Fitzgerald takes exception to.
“We’ve done everything we needed to do. They need to now expedite,” Fitzgerald said.
The EPA says the PADEP submitted the request for the RVP revision for the surrounding counties last May and got approval in December.
But the EPA says, “ACHD chose to wait until after PADEP’s rule change was finalized, submitting their SIP revision almost a year later than the state.”
KDKA’s Lindsay Ward Reports:
Fitzgerald says Allegheny County’s request moved through the system as fast as possible.
The county’s request was approved by Allegheny County Council in late February, got to the EPA on March 20, was signed by the EPA April 12, and was published for its 30-day public comment period April 26.
That timing was too late to stop the flow of the higher-priced summer gas into Allegheny County.
Fitzgerald says the EPA could have ended this already.
“They move things when they want to. This is something they should move and get done,” Fitzgerald said.
“Once they get the deadline for the comment period over, they’ll go ahead and do something. I really believe that they will,” said Don Bowers, Pennsylvania Petroleum Association Vice President.
Bowers adds the oil companies are still piping the RVP summer blend gas into town.
“They’re not going to stop that until the EPA says go ahead and stop,” Bowers said.
So the more expensive gas is stockpiling in the tank farms in the Pittsburgh area.
“Our wholesale prices went up yesterday. They’re going up again today,” Bowers said.
Bowers expects that trend to continue through the Memorial Day holiday. The current difference between Allegheny County and its neighbors is about 6 cents a gallon, according to Bowers.
“It’s not that wide. It was 8 cents yesterday. Today, it’s 6. Tomorrow it could be 10,” he said.
For now, most of the gas stations on the borders in the surrounding counties are keeping their prices in line with the stations in Allegheny County.
“For a change, they can make a little bit of change and they’re doing that, but there are some stations that aren’t,” Bowers said.
So in some places in the surrounding counties, you can find gas at or below the $3 mark.
If the EPA does expedite the lifting of summer blend from Allegheny County shortly after Memorial Day, there will still be summer blend in the storage tanks in western Pennsylvania.
Because it will take time to sell that off, relief at the pump is not expected until mid- to late June or early July.
If that happens and the tensions with Iran ease, Bowers says prices could go “well below $3” later in the summer.