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Your editorial, "Oxygen in Gasoline" (OGJ, May 31, 1999, p. 19), overlooked a very important aspect of the National Research Council (NRC) committee report. The committee admits that the report focuses on the effects of oxygen, not oxygenates, in reformulated gasoline (RFG), and they acknowledge that their conclusions were "based solely on data gathered from well-maintained vehicles with properly working catalytic converters." The NRC committee further acknowledges that, "A disproportionate amount of pollutants originate from a small number of high-emitting vehicles, such as older vehicles that have malfunctioning catalytic converters." Grounded on these limitations, the committee recommends "that the effect of RFG on emissions from high-emitting vehicles be studied in greater detail."
It would appear that this NRC report's conclusion is only applicable to late-model, warmed up, properly functioning motor vehicles. Areas with air pollution nonattainment problems should contemplate the conclusion of this report with recognition that significant sources of their mobile emissions were not considered. The addition of methyl tertiary butyl ether to reformulated gasoline remains the most cost-effective means of meeting emission standards while satisfying octane requirements.
James S. White
White Environmental Associates
The May 31 editorial citing the National Research Council report, "The Ozone-Forming Potential of Reformulated Gasoline," as evidence in support of eliminating the oxygen requirement in …