Denver Gas Prices to Surge as EPA Mandates Reformulated Fuel

The EPA's mandate for reformulated gasoline in the Denver Metro/North Front Range Ozone Non-Attainment Area will increase gasoline prices by 51 cents to $1 per gallon starting June 1. Governor Jared Polis opposes the requirement, citing threats to Colorado's fuel supply and potential shortages at the pump.

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Denver Gas Prices to Surge as EPA Mandates Reformulated Fuel

Denver Gas Prices to Surge as EPA Mandates Reformulated Fuel

Starting June 1, motorists in the Denver Metro/North Front Range Ozone Non-Attainment Area will face a significant increase in gasoline prices, ranging from 51 cents to $1 per gallon. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) requirement for reformulated gasoline has triggered this hike, which Governor Jared Polis claims will threaten Colorado's fuel supply and potentially lead to shortages at the pump.

Why this matters: The impact of this price surge will be felt beyond Colorado, as it may set a precedent for other regions to adopt similar measures, affecting the national fuel supply and economy. Additionally, the debate surrounding the EPA's mandate highlights the ongoing struggle to balance environmental concerns with economic realities.

The EPA's decision to downgrade the region to "severe" non-attainment status has mandated the use of reformulated gasoline to reduce ozone levels, which typically build up along the northern Front Range during the summer months. However, experts predict that the cost of reformulated gasoline will be 10 to 20 times higher than the EPA's initial estimate of 3 cents per gallon.

Governor Polis has been vocal in his criticism of the EPA's mandate, calling it "insane" and stating that it will "threaten Colorado's fuel supply, will raise prices, and may result in shortages at the pump." "Oh, they're awful," Polis said, referring to the EPA. "Yes, we're fighting them on many fronts, but particularly now with several exclamation points, this insane requirement for this reformulated gas."

Colorado's fuel supply is heavily dependent on the Suncor refinery in Commerce City, which provides about 40% of the state's gasoline. In a letter to the EPA, Polis wrote, "The bold actions Colorado has taken and continues to take to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and move away from fossil fuels have negated any potential emissions or environmental benefit from the costly and harmful RFG mandate."

Critics argue that a majority of the ozone problems in the Denver Basin are not the fault of residents, but rather come from uncontrollable natural, out-of-state, and international sources. In May 2022, Colorado business leaders pleaded with Polis to ask the EPA for an extension to avoid the reformulated gasoline mandate. Polis sent a letter to the EPA in 2022 requesting an extension, citing concerns about the potential impact on the state's fuel supply and the environment.

As the June 1 deadline approaches, residents of the Denver Metro/North Front Range Ozone Non-Attainment Area brace for a significant increase in gasoline prices. The EPA's mandate for reformulated gasoline has sparked a contentious debate between the state government and the federal agency, with Governor Polis adamantly opposing the requirement. The outcome of this dispute will have far-reaching implications for Colorado's fuel supply, consumer costs, and environmental efforts in the coming months.

Key Takeaways

  • Gas prices in Denver Metro/North Front Range to increase by 51 cents to $1 per gallon starting June 1.
  • EPA's reformulated gasoline mandate aims to reduce ozone levels, but may threaten Colorado's fuel supply.
  • Gov. Jared Polis criticizes EPA's mandate, calling it "insane" and predicting shortages at the pump.
  • Reformulated gasoline costs 10-20 times more than EPA's initial estimate of 3 cents per gallon.
  • Outcome may set a precedent for other regions, affecting national fuel supply and economy.