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 ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Petroleum marketers are continuing to make major investments to comply with federal regulations governing underground petroleum storage tanks, a survey released by the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) reveals. The association represents approximately 11,000 petroleum marketing companies across the United States. Collectively, those marketers own nearly 40,000 of the nation's gasoline stations and sell almost 50 percent of the gasoline sold in this country annually.
 The survey, PMAA 1993 Underground Storage Tank Status Report, revealed that the marketers, the majority of whom are small, independently owned businesses, are making substantial investments in upgrading or replacing their underground tank systems, cleaning up contaminated sites and in insuring those facilities.
 Equipment expenditures continue to be a major expense for marketers. Almost three-quarters of marketers responding to the PMAA survey reported some type of equipment expense in 1993, with the average investment exceeding $133,000.
 "These are enormous costs for a small business, and they are expenses which are not easily recovered at the gas pump," said PMAA Executive Vice President Phillip R. Chisholm, commenting on the survey.
 As upgrades proceed, the pace and cost of cleanup activity has accelerated. Fifty percent of the survey respondents reported engaging in cleanup activity over the past year, compared with 40 percent in 1991.
 Total cleanup costs averaged $198,000 per marketer, with more than 20 percent of cleanup costs accounted for by assessments.
 Per-site costs, at an average of $99,000, have increased dramatically from the 1991 average of $54,000.
 Underground tank insurance also remains costly and in many cases difficult to obtain. Most marketers continue to rely on state funds for financial assurance coverage. Eighty-three percent of marketers report coverage by a state fund, and nearly 16 percent have private pollution liability insurance.
 Marketers who do rely on private liability insurance report average premiums of approximately $37,000, or about $940 per tank. Small marketers paid over $1,600 per tank. In contrast, average state fund costs were just under $11,000 per marketer, or about $400 per tank.
 Marketers continue to close outlets at a steady pace. Forty-three percent of marketers report closing at least one outlet during 1992 and 1993, with total reported closures amounting to more than 16 percent of surveyed outlets. Sixty-five percent of outlet closures were attributed to the tank regulations. Outlet closures are increasingly costly, averaging $36,000 per outlet.
 Obtaining loans continues to be a major problem, and of the 59 percent of the marketers who applied for a loan in 1992-93, fully a quarter of them were turned down. Banks cited lender liability as the main reason.
 "This survey reveals that marketers are doing their best to comply with the regulations, but they're also being frustrated in those efforts by the reluctance of banks to make loans for environmental upgrades, because they are fearful of potential lender liability. Clarification of the lender liability laws would do much to help alleviate that situation, and we urge Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to take steps to clear up those laws as quickly as possible," said Chisholm.
 -0- 10/8/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Morehead of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, 703-351-8000/

CO: Petroleum Marketers Association of America ST: Virginia IN: OIL SU:

MH-KD -- DC019 -- 0151 10/08/93 12:41 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 8, 1993

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