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US Eases Restrictions on Fuel Use to Minimize Storm-related Shortages

FILE - The roof of a gas station sits in flood waters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Aransas Pass, Texas, Aug. 26, 2017.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has waived a federal fuel requirement to minimize potential fuel shortages in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The EPA eased a federal requirement mandating the use of low-volatility gasoline during the summer season.

The EPA announced the decision in response to Harvey's adverse impact on refineries in the oil-rich Gulf Coast region and the disruption of the area's fuel distribution system.

Major pipelines carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to Midwestern and East Coast states have been throttled back or shut down entirely due to reduced supplies.

The EPA action eases until September 15 regulations requiring the use of low-volatility gasoline in the District of Columbia and in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt exercised the waiver in coordination with Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Both agencies said the waiver was consistent with the public interest.