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Motor-fuel suppliers to get more gas flexibility in SD

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE -- South Dakota's standards for gasoline volatility should be more flexible in autumn so that fuel supplies can be more reliable, the Legislature's rules review committee decided Tuesday.

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The panel approved a change sought by owners of the Magellan pipeline that delivers gasoline to terminals at Watertown and Sioux Falls.

South Dakota's existing standards will remain in place but there now will be alternative standards, too, that match those used in three neighboring states.

The alternative standards could be used during the fall transition period of Sept. 16-30.

Magellan Midstream Partners official Bruce Heine said the company's goal is to have consistency and uniformity among bordering states. "This is all to help the automobile perform properly as the seasons change," he said.

Last fall, Magellan had plentiful supplies of 87-octane gasoline but couldn't distribute it in South Dakota for the last five days of the month because the fuel didn't meet the state's standards, according to Heine.

He said distributors had to go elsewhere to get supplies and those higher freight costs would eventually show up for the motorist.

"That's what this rule change would minimize," he said.

Dawna Lietzke from South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association sent a letter supporting the change. "This is very important as we face many product shortages throughout the year," she wrote.

The state Office of Weights and Measures previously approved the change but needed the legislative panel's final approval.

No one opposed the change at the office's public hearing last month and nobody came forward Tuesday.

Volatility measures a fuel's ability to vaporize or change from a liquid to a vapor. Lower-volatility gasoline is better in hotter months and higher-volatility gasoline in colder months.

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