Sam Penrod ReportingAn unpopular tradition in Utah County appears to be over after 13 years. Federal regulators will no longer force gas stations to sell oxygenated fuel during the winter. And no one seems to be complaining. In fact, some people are even cheering.
Ever since 1991, the federal government has forced every gas station in Utah County to sell what people here call the 'bad gas.' It was supposed to cut back on air pollution during the winter, but it did it really make a difference? Most people say no!
For the last 13 years, November 1st through the end of February has been oxygenated fuel season in Utah County.
Mark Walker, Walker Oil Company: “Come November 1, our customers were either headed to Juab or Salt Lake County to get their fuel. It was costing us as a business, it was costing taxpayers here.”
But today drivers are excited to hear oxygenated fuel in Utah County is over. It's welcome news, especially with rising gas prices.
Nick: "I'm all for saving money. I think anything you can do right now would help, that's for sure."
Bill: "I think it's a waste. I've heard it puts as much pollution in the air as not."
Utah County drivers have been annoyed for years because the gas they bought during the winter cost more and was less efficient. What added insult to injury is that Utah County's pollution levels have been well below air quality standards since 1992. So why has the oxygenated fuel still been required?
Mark Walker: "For them to grab one county along the Wasatch Front didn't make a lot of sense to anyone, including the politicians down here and the public. If they were going to do it, is should be mandated all along the Wasatch Front."
And getting rid of the gas additive has been an uphill battle for those who've been fighting it, and finally a victory.
Mark Walker: "It's good news for marketers, it's good new for Utah County."
So will the usual gasoline cause pollution problems this winter in Utah County? The experts say no. And a formal decision if oxygenated fuel is really dead is expected from the EPA in a couple of months.