California Ethanol Replaces MTBE

March 03, 2003

In preparation for the phase-out of the gasoline additive MTBE at the end of 2003, ChevronTexaco announced on January 15th the switch of oxygenate in its gasoline blends from MTBE to ethanol. With sales worth 18% of the California gasoline market, ChevronTexaco is the last of the national brands to begin the switch to ethanol. For details, see a January 15th press release from the Renewable Fuels Association.

Like California, New York will ban MTBE at the end of 2003. Several other states are considering timing their phase-outs of MTBE to coordinate with other states in order to make the transition easier on fuel suppliers.

Meanwhile, the association reports that, for the first time, this country produced more ethanol than MTBE in January. This is partly the result of the declining production of MTBE as an additive in California and partly because ethanol production continues to rise, reaching an all-time production peak in February 2003. For details, see the Renewable Fuels Association's March 20th press release.