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CITGO Leads in Adopting New Sulfate Limits in Ethanol

CITGO Petroleum Corporation has taken the lead in adopting a new industry-wide specification applied to ethanol designated for blending with gasoline.

The new limit would place the maximum level of sulfates in ethanol at 4 parts per million (PPM). The proposed standard was approved last December by the Gasoline Subcommittee of ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials.

The 4ppm standard won out over a more stringent 1ppm proposed standard in the discussions and balloting in December. The issue had come to the fore at an ASTM meeting in June 2005, related to equipment failures related to sulfates in ethanol-blended gasoline.

The measure now passes to the DO2 Subcommittee on Petroleum Products and Lubricants for final approval, which could come as early as this June.

We have been involved in developing this type of standard since 1985, when automakers began making a wholesale switch from carburetors to fuel injectors. This new specification limit is intended to help alleviate premature pump filter clogging at gasoline stations and prevent fuel injector problems in some automobiles.

With new federal legislation requiring increased use of ethanol as a component of automotive fuel, it is important to ensure that gasoline blend components conform to stricter standards, thereby providing the motoring public with a continued reliable energy source.

—David Harvey, CITGO’s manager of fuels quality technology and technical services

The demand for high-quality fuels has resulted in the use of many different additives which are introduced to the gasoline at refineries and product terminals. Additives injected into gasoline within the distribution system are designed to help the product meet ASTM gasoline specifications, provide retail brand differentiation and meet the individual requirements of multiple customers.

The Renewable Fuels Association has endorsed the new specification and is encouraging their membership to support the new standard.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of Venezuela.



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