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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Refiners May Use a New Way to Measures Olefins

WASHINGTON (CN) - Gasoline refineries will be allowed to use an alternative method to measure the presence of olefins in gasoline so long as the measurements taken are correlated to the measurement method designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency says that the decision is consistent with pact practices, noting that it allows eight alternative test methods for the measurement of gasoline or butane properties provided their results are correlated to the designated test for those properties.

Olefins are a by-product of the refining process and form deposits on fuel injectors that can impact engine performance. Essentially a long chain of double bonded carbon atoms, olefins are also used to manufacture synthetic fibers.

The EPA currently requires a testing method known as ASTM D1319-03 which measures olefins in gasoline as a percent of the mass of the fuel, for all official fuel reporting.

The American Petroleum Institute petitioned the agency in 2006 to allow use of an alternative method known as ASTM D6550-05 which measures olefins as a percent of the volume of a fuel. Its advocates claim the alternative method is cheaper and faster than the designated method.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation opposed the agency's initial proposal, in 2008, to allow the industry to use the alternative method and convert the results using a conversion constant saying that the method would not be accurate because each facility would have different outcomes, thus undermining the reliability of the measurements.

The new rule eliminates the use of a universal constant conversion factor and instead requires each facility to make sure that measurements using the alternative method correlate to those it would have obtained using the designated method at that specific facility. The agency believes this will eliminate any underreporting of olefins that a universal conversion factor might allow.

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