Does blended (oxygenated) gasoline fall within the scope of the CERCLA petroleum exclusion?
Historically, the Agency has interpreted the CERCLA section 101(14) petroleum exclusion to cover crude oil and the crude oil constituents that are indigenous to the petroleum (e.g., xylene), or that are normally mixed with or added to crude oil or crude oil fractions during the refining process (e.g., tetraethyl lead). In 1983, EPA issued a memorandum indicating that gasoline blended during the refining process is within the scope of the petroleum exclusion. In particular, the 1983 memo stated that "[b]ecause virtually all of the gasoline which is sold as motor transportation fuel is blended gasoline rather than raw gasoline, a reasonable interpretation of the petroleum exemption is that it applies to the blended gasoline product as well as raw gasoline." Under this interpretation, oxygenated gasoline, which may involve the blending of a CERCLA hazardous substance into gasoline, whether the blending takes place at a refinery or a terminal, would fall within the petroleum exclusion. Therefore, the blended gasoline would not be a hazardous substance and would not be subject to CERCLA reporting, response, or liability requirements.