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`Boutique' Gasoline Is Not Raising Prices, Study Finds

Special blends that help states meet clean-air standards have not contributed to higher prices at the pump, a study finds.

June 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — "Boutique" gasoline blends to help states meet clean air rules are not a factor in higher prices as President Bush has suggested, says a draft of a study ordered by the White House.

Although often cited as a reason for volatile gasoline prices, so-called "boutique fuels" have not caused unusual distribution problems or contributed to price increases, the report concludes.

California is among the states that requires a unique fuel blend to combat air pollution.

The review was conducted by a task force headed by the Environmental Protection Agency and involved representatives from the 50 states as well as the federal Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Facing growing public outrage over soaring gasoline prices, Bush ordered the study April 25 during a speech in which he attributed high gas prices in part to the growth of special fuels.

But the task force found otherwise, according to a report that may be released as early as today.

According to a late draft, obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, the task force concluded that suggestions of a connection between boutique fuels and supply or price concerns could not be supported.

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