Arizona's Fuel Problems Turn for Worse

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

Arizona's Fuel Problems Turn for Worse

PHOENIX -- An idled gasoline pipeline that is causing fuel shortages throughout Phoenix failed one of two tests needed to reopen it, the owner of the line said yesterday.

However, the pipeline still is expected to be back in operation and running at full capacity by the weekend, said Rick Rainey, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners of Houston told The Arizona Republic.

The pipeline provides a third of the metropolitan area's gasoline. The shutdown has caused days of shortages and long lines at gas stations in this sprawling city with relatively little mass transportation.

Kim Pappas-Miller, a spokeswoman for AAA Arizona, said one gas station near downtown Phoenix was charging $3.89 a gallon; $2-a-gallon prices were common elsewhere in the city.

Kinder Morgan said a test using high-pressure water in one segment of the pipeline was going well and was expected to be completed yesterday, but a second segment failed the test near Tucson. The failed section was being repaired and a new test will be needed, company officials said.

Meanwhile, in a move aimed at easing the shortage, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Gov. Janet Napolitano's request that the metropolitan area be allowed to use conventional rather than cleaner-burning fuel until the gas supply stabilizes. The waiver expires Sept. 19. Since 1997, the federal government has required gas stations in the Phoenix metropolitan area to use gasoline blended with an additive to combat high ozone levels.