BP switches from MTBE to ethanol in California

By | May 01, 2002
Major international energy provider BP announced this month that it is moving ahead with a plan to switch from MTBE to ethanol in California during the fourth quarter of this year. As the state's largest gasoline marketer, BP's action is good news for consumers concerned with MTBE drinking water pollution and new farmer-owned ethanol plants that were counting on the emergence of a strong ethanol market in California.

"BP's announcement reaffirms their status as an environmental leader, and is welcome news for consumers anxious about further MTBE water contamination," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). "I commend BP for making this courageous decision. It reflects BP's commitment to eliminating the use of MTBE as soon as possible. I believe California consumers will reward oil companies like BP that make an early switch away from MTBE. And I hope other companies marketing gasoline in California will follow BP's lead. There is simply no reason for any California oil company to risk further drinking water supplies by continuing to use MTBE."

BP's announcement is the first public commitment by a refiner to eliminate the use of MTBE as originally scheduled since California Governor Gray Davis delayed the state's MTBE ban by one year, until January 1, 2004.