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April 30, 2019 | Vol. 69, No. 9

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In This Issue

Dear PEI Member:

On May 2, 1986, 200 photojournalists fanned out across the United States for an ambitious project: to tell the story of a single American day. Over 24 hours, the talented photographers captured striking images of people and places from coast to coast. Big cities and small towns. Majestic mountains and expansive plains. Youngsters and elders. Friends and strangers. Americans at work and at play. The resulting book, “A Day in the Life of America,” was a vivid tribute to the country’s heart and soul.

A pictorial summary of a day in the life of the petroleum equipment industry would not be as beautiful as that book, but it would be inspiring. Every day, PEI members work hard to protect people, preserve the environment and keep the nation moving.

The importance of that work is best illustrated by the occasional instances when things don’t go quite right. Here’s a not-so-beautiful glimpse at six real-life incidents, accidents and tragedies from just the last 30 days. The kind of “month in the life” that no PEI member wants to see.

     April 2. An overfilled underground storage tank (UST) spilled into the Popo Agie River in Lander, Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The leak was discovered when residents called the Lander Fire Department to report a gasoline smell. After noticing a sheen on the surface of the nearby river, the DEQ found that a country store gas station had overfilled one of its USTs. The DEQ shut down the station until the overfill prevention devices were repaired.

     April 2-16. Seven workers died in jobsite trench collapses in four states (Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado and Idaho). One of the deceased was a father of five, with another little one on the way. Though the accidents occurred at commercial, residential and utility jobsites (i.e., not at fuel dispensing facilities), the PEI Safety Committee nevertheless decided to revisit how best to communicate trench safety essentials in our industry.

     April 15. A UST exploded around 9 a.m. at an Ashland, Kentucky gas station, shooting flames, concrete, metal and other debris into the sky. Although news reports did not identify a cause, one PEI Safety Committee member who viewed footage of the explosion surmised that the explosion occurred in the tank’s vapor space, perhaps as a result of static, a corroded STP wiring failure, or a fault in the ATG probe wiring.

     April 22. Approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at a tank farm near Iowa Falls, Iowa, after a shutoff valve failed. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will monitor the area and the cleanup activities to see if the spill harms fish or other aquatic life. If so, the DNR will determine appropriate follow-up actions.

     April 23. A truck driver initiated fueling at a Delaware convenience store, then left his vehicle unattended, assuming fueling would stop automatically when the tank was full. Unfortunately, the nozzle’s hold-open latch did not disengage properly, and 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the parking lot.

     April 24. State officials shut down a Chesterfield, Virginia retail facility after discovering excessive water in two of the facility’s USTs. Questions had arisen when a local Volvo dealership mechanic found watered-down gasoline in a customer’s car that would not start. Another customer reported that one-third of the gas she purchased was water.

A Month in the Life

Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Grants

Pennsylvania Clean Energy Grants

IMO 2020 Literature Review

Mexico Fuel Theft Update





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Collectively, these incidents, accidents and tragedies answer an important question: Why do you do what you do? You do it to:

  • Keep rivers clean in Wyoming
  • Protect trench workers in Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado and Idaho
  • Prevent dangerous explosions in Kentucky
  • Ensure healthy fish and aquatic life in Iowa
  • Keep hanging hardware functioning properly in Delaware
  • Provide Virginia drivers with high-quality fuel.

Every day PEI members do good work is a beautiful day.

The Iowa Legislature approved $3 million in 2020 fiscal year funding for the Department of Agriculture’s Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The program reimburses Iowa retailers for blender pumps and other equipment required for higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

Under the RFIP, retailers committing to store and sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends may receive grants of up to 70% for certain equipment and installation costs. Application instructions and complete details on the program may be found here

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced more than $1 million in grants for nine clean energy vehicle projects in three counties in the southwestern part of the state. The awards are issued through the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants program.

According to a DEP press release, the grants will be used to replace older shuttles, school buses, waste-hauling trucks and other vehicles with natural gas and electric vehicles, as well as to install fueling stations for the new vehicles. DEP expects the projects to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5,745 metric tons.

The April 2 TulsaLetter introduced readers to the potential market disruption from a new International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard lowering the allowable sulfur content of marine fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% on Jan. 1, 2020. The article noted that while one respected analyst, Dr. Philip Verleger, is predicting long-term diesel prices of as much as $6 per gallon, most experts take a more conservative view.

The majority viewpoint is reflected in a new Fuels Institute IMO 2020 literature summary released April 26. According to the summary of 30 IMO 2020 analyses, the consensus view is that global refineries still will be able to produce enough low-sulfur fuel for both the marine fuel market and other transportation sectors. If so, retail diesel and gasoline prices will increase no more than 25 to 75 cents a gallon over, at most, a two- to three-year period.  

Bolivia’s national oil company has completed a $41 million infrastructure investment to blend and store E12 fuel at 27 facilities across the country. Production of the blend, known as “Super Ethanol 88,” comes in response to new regulations requiring the use of 150 million liters (almost 40 million gallons) of ethanol annually in Bolivia.

According to press reports, 350 Bolivian retail fueling facilities will market the mid-level ethanol blend.

Pemex, the state-owned oil company of Mexico, reported April 23 that gasoline theft in the nation has been cut by 95% since November—from 81,000 barrels to 4,000 barrels per day. The government attributed the decline to Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s decision to tighten pipeline security and shift gasoline transportation to rail and trucks.

However, according to an April 24 alert from Oil Express, the actual theft reduction may be below that claimed by the government. Citing unnamed industry sources, Oil Express suggested that thieves are now targeting gasoline transport trucks rather than pipelines and that the current theft level could be as high as 40,000 barrels per day—ten times the official government estimate.

Ford Motor Co. announced a $500 million investment in Michigan-based electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian. Earlier this year, Amazon made a $700 million investment in Rivian to produce an electric delivery vehicle. Ford’s Rivian investment is in addition to the $11 billion it already has committed to develop its own extensive line of EVs.

Growth Energy and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) released a biofuels curriculum for high school students. The two-week course includes six activities that allow students to produce their own biofuel and measure its energy content and emissions. It also teaches how biofuels intersect with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
Washworld named Hansco LLC of Buckley, Washington, to its global distributor network. Hansco is composed of experienced car wash owners and operators.

Virginia affiliate.
Fuel Purification Systems, 1603 Ownby Lane, Richmond, VA 23220, has applied for affiliate division membership. Jeffrey Corbett is president of the firm, which was established in 2005. Fuel Purification Systems provides diesel generator fuel cleaning, polishing, filtration and generator maintenance solutions. Sponsored for PEI membership by Patrick Vuchetich, Williams & Company Consulting, Inc./Petro Classroom, Kansas City, Missouri.

Illinois software company. SMART Software, 1300 S. Raney St. Suite 3, Effingham, IL 62401, has applied for affiliate division membership. Nathan McQuillen is sales and marketing director for the firm, which was established in 1998. SMART Software is a service management system for companies in the petroleum equipment industry. Sponsored for PEI membership by Amanda Hunter Zaborney, Hunter Pump Islands, Alpena, Michigan.

California lighting provider. Soltech LLC, 1460 Park Avenue, Emeryville, CA 94608 has applied for affiliate division membership. Hanh Bui is the representative for the company, which was established in March 2018. Soltech LLC designs and manufactures solar-powered LED lighting technologies. Sponsored for PEI membership by Mike Long, Mike Long & Associates, Inc., Denver, North Carolina.

Florida payment processor. Service First Processing, 1315 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 200, Boynton Beach, FL 33435, has applied for affiliate division membership. David James is relationship manager for the firm, which was established in 2009. Service First Processing provides all forms of electronic payment processing. Sponsored for PEI membership by Chris Monroe, Monroe & Monroe Insurance, Arlington, Texas.


  • Fueling Solutions Inc., Birmingham, Alabama (distributor)
  • Frontier Fuel Service, LLC, Wasilla, Alaska (service & construction)
  • Parish Petroleum LLC, Crystal Springs, Mississippi (service & construction)
  • Deanna London Brown, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., Atlanta, Georgia (operations & engineering)
  • Aaron Shinina, Total Zambia Limited, Lusaka, Zambia (operations & engineering)
  • Michael Bucklin, Landhope Farms, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (operations & engineering)
  • Kris Kanak, Quick Fuel, A Division of Flyers Energy, Sugar Grove, Illinois (operations & engineering)

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© 2019
Petroleum Equipment Institute
P. O. Box 2380
Tulsa, OK 74101-2380

The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Richard C. Long, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.