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  The Florida Motor Fuel Status as it Exists Today

Florida Gasoline Dependency

Petroleum is by far the leading source of energy consumed in Florida, followed by coal and natural gas for electric power generation. In fact, Florida currently ranks third among all states in total gasoline consumption at more than 20 million gallons per day, and is projected to exceed 28 million gallons per day by 2020. (Source: "Fueling Florida's Future - Strategic Fit of Alternative Fuels in Florida" by the Clean Fuel Florida Advisory Board.) Currently, the state of Florida consumes a staggering 7.6 billion gallons of gasoline per year (Source: U.S. Department of Energy).

However, Florida is heavily dependent on imported gasoline. Florida has no petroleum refining capacity, nor is Florida supplied by a gasoline pipeline from the Gulf Coast petroleum refineries. Instead, Florida gasoline is supplied by waterborne tankers and barges from Texas Gulf Coast ports to destinations along the Florida Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Significant foreign supplies are also imported into Florida coastal ports. When refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel) reach Florida port destinations, the fuels are transferred to many different supply storage terminals located within the sea ports. Terminal owners then mix their additive packages into gasoline and other refined products at these terminal facilities, at which point they are distributed to gasoline stations, airports, and businesses by tanker trucks. ethanol molecules

Florida Air Quality

Ambient air quality has been on the decline in Florida metropolitan and urban areas for the past 30 years due to the rapid growth in local population and accelerating use of automobiles. Effective July 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the ambient ozone standard for Florida metropolitan areas, from a one hour peak period basis to an eight hour average maximum concentration. However, cities such as Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami, and Jacksonville still have significant ozone and smog problems. Consequently, in 2002, these areas became 8 hour Ozone Non-Attainment areas as designated by the EPA. Accordingly for those areas, petroleum refiners must produce and distribute Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of 7.8 pounds per square inch (psi) as opposed to an RVP of 9-11 psi for conventional gasoline. In fact, as of February 2003, Florida gasoline requires the use of RFG with a 7.8 psi RVP limit in the Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa/St. Petersburg metropolitan areas, while conventional gasoline is allowed in the rest of the state.

Gasoline storage terminals could further reduce ozone and smog by distributing RFG which contains higher levels of oxygen, most commonly by blending an oxygenate such as ethanol. By voluntarily opting to blend ethanol with RFG at port gasoline storage terminals, Florida metropolitan regions could potentially prevent EPA reclassification of those areas as "Severe Non-Attainment". A future EPA designation as severe non-attainment will mandate blending of an oxygenate, and Floridians would have to chose between the environmentally-toxic and hazardous MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) oxygenate, or the environmentally-friendly, renewable and biodegradable ethanol oxygenate.

Ethanol Production and Use in Florida

Currently, no fuel ethanol production facilities exist in the state of Florida. There is no oxygenate requirement for gasoline in Florida. Consequently, very little if any ethanol is blended with gasoline in Florida. If ethanol were ever required to be used with gasoline in Florida, it would need to be imported from the Midwestern corn-belt states, either by rail or by barge transportation.


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