The CEO of a small truckstop firm testified before a Senate panel Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to drastically cut the sulfur content of all highway diesel fuel will upset the diesel fuel market, driving up costs for consumers.

The Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property and Nuclear Safety should oppose the new regulations as expensive and risky, urged Paul Rogers on behalf of Voss Companies, Cuba, Mo., and the trade association NATSO, which represents the nation's travel plaza and truckstop industry.
Under EPA's scheme, sulfur in diesel fuel would be lowered from 500 parts per million to just 15 parts per million beginning in 2006. "NATSO is very concerned that this 97 percent reduction in sulfur content of highway diesel fuel will seriously disrupt the truckstop industry's ability to consistently and reliably acquire highway diesel fuel for sale in our nation's vehicles," Rogers testified.
Not only will the EPA-proposed fuel cost more, it will not result in significant air quality gains when compared with the industry's proposal, NATSO claims. That's because the industry's proposal would cut sulfur almost as much. NATSO and the rest of the petroleum industry have voiced their support for a 90 percent reduction in sulfur levels to 50 parts per million, Rogers went on to say.
The worst effect on fuel retailers could actually come sooner than 2006 if EPA adopts its proposal to phase in the new fuel. Such a phase-in would force travel plaza operators to temporarily handle, segregate and sell two separate grades of highway diesel fuel -- a costly proposal.
"The introduction of a second grade of diesel could therefore force many truckstop operators out of business, and have the additional effect of further reducing diesel fuel supply."