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MILWAUKEE -- With some gas station owners warning of a Milwaukee-area fuel shortage this weekend, Gov. Jim Doyle won a three-day waiver of environmental regulations Friday to keep the pumps open.
Major oil companies opposed the waiver, saying they weren't running out of gas and claiming the waiver would let small operators undercut their prices, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Gas station owners and their representatives told Doyle's office Friday that they were running out of the reformulated gas that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires for vehicles in southeastern Wisconsin, said Bob Bartlett, president of the Petroleum Marketers Association of Wisconsin/Wisconsin Association of Convenience Stores.
The problem appeared to be related to the seasonal switch from the gas blend used in the summer to that used in the winter, they said. But Erin Roth, executive director of the Wisconsin Petroleum Council, said that switch was supposed to be completed Sept. 15.
The EPA agreed to let area gas stations sell gas that didn't meet federal air-quality standards through Monday, adding it should not cause any environmental or health problems, the report said.
Roth said the big oil companies he represents -- such as ExxonMobil, BP and Shell -- were not having problems with supply, and the potential shortfall seemed limited to independent operators that buy gas on the spot market, including CITGO stations.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel survey of about a dozen CITGO and Mobil stations found only one station that had run out of regular gasoline.