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STATES FAILING TO ENSURE GASOLINE QUALITY, AAA SAYS

 WASHINGTON, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As many as one-third of the nation's motorists should question whether they're getting what they're paying for when they buy gasoline, the American Automobile Association said in a news conference today with Public Citizen.
 "Many states claim to have gasoline quality programs in operation, but a new study by Public Citizen points out only about half the states actually test gasoline for octane content and contamination," said Darryl Wyland, AAA senior vice president for Public and Government Relations.
 Higher octane gasolines generally cost 10 to 15 cents more per gallon than regular gasoline, AAA said. Because most vehicles do not need mid-grade or premium fuel, the absence of higher octane usually goes undetected by motorists. Contaminated fuel is more apparent, degrading vehicle performance and increasing wear on engine components.
 "Car owners shouldn't have to take 'pot luck' when they fill up their gas tanks. They shouldn't have to question whether they're getting what they are paying for," Wyland said.
 AAA called for a federal investigation of octane ratings on gas pumps two years ago. "The results of a subsequent report by the General Accounting Office were shocking," Wyland said. "As much as 50 percent of the gasoline tested in certain states was 2 to 4 octane ratings below the posting on the pump."
 On a gasoline consumption basis, states with the most active testing programs are Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, North Dakota and Maryland, Public Citizen's new study showed. In these states, only 3.9 percent of gasoline samples had octane problems.
 AAA said it intends to target lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, and Oregon, saying "octane fraud" may become extensive in these states unless they set up gasoline inspection programs soon.
 "Gasoline quality is at a critical juncture," Wyland said. "In another two years, reformulated gasoline will be required in most major urban areas as many states choose this option to comply with Clean Air Act requirements."
 -0- 3/1/93
 /CONTACT: Dick Hebert, 202-942-2050 or Geoff Sundstrom, 407-444-8000, both of the American Automobile Association/


CO: American Automobile Association; Public Citizen ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT LEI SU:

JB-AW -- FL005 -- 1376 03/01/93 11:35 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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