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Aug 26

Environmental Laws Worsen Arizona Gas Shortage

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

While the recent power blackout garnered headlines highlighting how fragile our energy distribution system can be, gasoline for autos was running out in Phoenix.


A gasoline pipeline, carrying supplies from El Paso, ruptured near Tucson, closing the pipeline for more than two weeks. The one remaining pipeline into Phoenix was unable to keep up with demand, and tanks at many stations began to run dry. 

As the shortage spread, long lines formed, with two thirds of stations closing after they ran out of fuel- and pump prices shot up to over $4 a gallon in places.

The damaged pipeline is now back in service, and deliveries are returning to normal, but businesses were hard hit, as some employees,unable to buy gasoline, couldn't get to work. Trips were canceled, and costs escalated for taxi drivers and delivery vehicles. Near panic set in for many, and the shortage would have become far worse if the pipeline had been out of service any longer.

The Phoenix problem was exasperated by government regulations which require a special gasoline formula for the Phoenix market, to improve air quality, and limiting the number of hours that gasoline tankers can deliver gas. 

Phoenix couldn't receive any "regular" gas, only the specially formulated variety, as decided on by the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. That meant fuel supplies that could have been trucked to Phoenix could not be used to alleviate the shortage, all because of a very minimal impact on the air quality. 

Moreover, gasoline delivery tankers were sitting idle because of restricted hours of operation, and they could have been shuttling fuel from Tucson to Phoenix. 

Typically, the EPA rules, the gasoline formulation, and the delivery hours were all temporally lifted-but only after the worst of the crisis had past. 

Like the national power grid, parts of our pipeline system are aging, and lines are subject to breakdowns. The next time this happens,we need less government regulation, which will free private enterprise to respond to any emergency spot shortage.

Government exacerbated the shortage, rather then helping.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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