Friday, April 21, 2006

US fuel crunch worsens

Dozens of gasoline stations from Virginia to Massachusetts ran short of fuel on Friday as suppliers struggled with a transition to a new anti-smog gasoline blend using corn-based ethanol as an additive, marketers said.

The disruptions, caused in part by a lack of trucks to move ethanol to supply terminals, comes amid an already severe spike in retail gasoline prices to near $3 per gallon as the cost of crude hits new highs.

"The situation here is chaotic," said Mike O'Connor, president of the Virginia Petroleum Jobbers Association, which represents gas stations in the state. He said his association is seeking a federal waiver to allow the sale of lower grade gasoline to ease the crunch.

Fuel marketers said there were reports of gasoline stations running out of fuel in areas of Virginia, Maryland, around Washington D.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and parts of Massachusetts.



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