FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Republican Lawmakers Work to Ease Pain at the Pump
with Plan to Lower Gas Prices
PHOENIX, ARIZONA—After two consecutive years of fuel prices surpassing the $5 per gallon mark in communities across Arizona, Republican state lawmakers are working to ease the financial burden hitting hardworking Arizonans when they fill their gas tanks.
Last session, Republicans in both the House and Senate united to provide inflationary relief to families struggling in this economy with a historic tax rebate sent out last month, as well as inflationary relief to tenants by eliminating the tenant-paid rental tax. In the upcoming Fifty-sixth Legislature- Second Regular Session, we'll remain committed to tackling inflation by addressing gas prices, housing costs, and teacher raises.
Today, Republican legislators are highlighting a plan to prevent out-of-control price hikes at the pump by addressing fuel blend requirements in Arizona.
Currently, Arizona is required to provide drivers in Maricopa County a specific fuel blend for cooler season months and a different fuel blend specific for warmer season months. During spring and summer, statute specifies Arizonans must fuel their cars with a boutique blend called Cleaner Burning Gas (CBG). Arizona is the only state in the nation using this blend to meet clean air requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This blend is produced out of state, and there can routinely be disruptions in getting this fuel supply into Arizona. These periods of limited supply force prices to skyrocket.
Instead of retailers only having access to just two blends, Senate and House Republicans are proposing a free market solution by allowing as many fuel blends as possible. At this time, we've identified eight comparable blends.
"We believe the EPA can and should approve those blends for use, as they provide nearly identical clean air benefits as CBG," said Senate President Warren Petersen. "Providing multiple fuel options allows the market to compete during unexpected shortages and helps keep gas prices low for Arizona drivers."
When gasoline shortages happen, the state has the authority to request a waiver from the EPA, in order to use a different, available blend. Past Governors have successfully received a waiver. Unfortunately, back in March of this year, refineries warned Governor Katie Hobbs that weeks-long shutdowns would cut off more than 50% of the supply of fuel to the Phoenix area, but the Governor decided not to apply for the waiver. As a result, gas prices spiked $1 in just weeks.
"The Legislature was not made aware of the shortage until after it had happened. As part of our plan, we're proposing the Legislature be immediately notified if a waiver is requested by refineries, and that the Senate President and House Speaker are provided the authority to file a waiver request directly with the EPA," said bill sponsor Senator Justine Wadsack. "Hardworking Arizonans are struggling in this economy. Turning a blind eye to crippling gas prices is like throwing salt on their wounds. As lawmakers, we should do everything in our power to improve the lives of our citizens who elected us to represent them."
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus