The EPA announced a settlement with Tauber Oil Company, resolving alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from the company’s sale of a fuel additive that was not registered with the EPA. Tauber stopped selling the unregistered fuel additive and will pay a $700,000 civil penalty.
The settlement resolves claims that Tauber produced a fuel additive called Mixed Alcohol by blending together various alcohol streams, then sold approximately 1.9 million gallons of Mixed Alcohol without first registering it as a fuel additive with the EPA or meeting the Clean Air Act requirement that fuel and fuel additives are substantially similar to what was used in the certification of motor vehicles. Tauber is a manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products based in Houston, Texas. EPA announced the settlement in a statement issued Jan. 18.
The Clean Air Act establishes fuel quality and emissions standards, including requirements relating to the registration and sale of fuel additives, to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles, like passenger cars. These requirements provide EPA with information on fuel additive composition to prevent potential increases in harmful pollutants that may result either directly from the combustion of additive-containing fuel or indirectly due to the degradation of vehicle emission control systems that additive-containing fuel can cause.
The Clean Air Act requires that a fuel additive manufacturer must register the fuel additive with the EPA before selling, offering for sale, or introducing the additive into commerce. Also, the Clean Air Act makes it unlawful for fuel additive manufacturers to first introduce into commerce, or to increase the concentration in use of, any fuel or fuel additive in motor vehicles that is not substantially similar to any fuel or fuel additive utilized in engine certification.
The stipulation of settlement and order, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, will undergo a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.