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The House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee shot down an amendment pushed by many downstream associations that would have eliminated the controversial sulfur diesel phase-in rule.
The measure, part of a broader low-sulfur mandate adopted in the waning days of the Clinton administration, required only 80 percent of diesel fuel in 2006 to comply with the stricter standard, postponing full implementation until 2010. As a result, many petroleum marketers and truckstop operators will most likely be forced to carry both high-sulfur and low-sulfur for four years.
"We are very disappointed that elimination of the phase-in of the diesel desulfurization rule won't be a part of this (energy policy) bill," said John Eichberger, motor fuels director at the National Association of Convenience Stores. "But we are pleased this issue and the impact it would have on consumers and petroleum marketers is now receiving significant attention from Congress, the administration, and the media."
NACS partnered with the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators.
But their efforts were rebuffed by an intensive lobbying campaign by an unusual blend of environmental groups, major oil companies and refineries, as well as the Bush administration. The major oil companies feared that eliminating the phase-in clause and requiring 100-percent compliance by 2006 could have compromised fuel supplies.