Switch to summer gas blends affects fuel prices

Switch to summer gas blends affects fuel prices

Posted:
The changeover means completely shutting down operations so they can do maintenance in order to produce a cleaner blend of fuel. The changeover means completely shutting down operations so they can do maintenance in order to produce a cleaner blend of fuel.
"Typically we see this changeover happening later in the year, but refineries by their choice have decided to change over to the cleaner summer-blended fuels earlier than they typically do," said Stephanie Milani of AAA of Tennessee. "Typically we see this changeover happening later in the year, but refineries by their choice have decided to change over to the cleaner summer-blended fuels earlier than they typically do," said Stephanie Milani of AAA of Tennessee.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As the price at the pump continues to rise, so do people's frustrations and that's usually where the blame game begins.

This time around it's a switch to the summer blend of fuel, an explanation many find hard to believe.

Stephanie Milani with AAA of Tennessee says there is some truth to it.

"Typically we see this changeover happening later in the year, but refineries by their choice have decided to change over to the cleaner summer-blended fuels earlier than they typically do," said Milani.

The changeover means completely shutting down operations so they can do maintenance in order to produce a cleaner blend of fuel, one that's required by the EPA in many parts of the country.

"The idea is there's more people on the road during the summer traveling for vacations and it's one thing that keep those emissions down and help us have cleaner air in the summer when more people are on the roads," said Milani.

That cleaner air is a small consolation for drivers like college student Jacob Wigle, who stopped to put just three dollars into his tank.

"It's all I have to spend on gas today to get back and forth from campus," said Wigle. "I mean I do have to pay for my own gas and I'm just getting up around paying my own expenses, so it does affect me a lot."

Now people are left wondering if the early switch to summer fuel means less of a spike when summer finally arrives.

"That's the million dollar question," said Milani. "Hopefully once the changeover is complete and supplies are back to where we need to be, we will start to see these prices begin to stabilize. That's if all other factors stay consistent as well."

But if there is one thing we've learned with gas prices, it's that only time will tell.

There is some good news for drivers. When fuel companies make the switch back to the winter blend in the fall, prices are expected to remain steady as it's cheaper for them to dirty up the fuel than it is to make it cleaner.

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