Gov. Gary Herbert continues to prod Utahns to buy cleaner Tier 3 gas

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gov. Gary Herbert praises Chevron for offering cleaner lower-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline statewide as he stops in at the Chevron station at 1704 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert continued trumpeting a call Wednesday for a consumer revolt, again urging drivers to buy cleaner Tier 3 gasoline to help prod more refineries to produce it.

This time, he appeared at a Chevron station in Salt Lake City to praise that brand for offering the fuel since last month, reprising a similar appearance in November at a Speedway station to praise it. He again sounded a bit like an ad pitchman for the brand.

“This is being done by Chevron on a voluntary basis,” the governor said, noting refineries can comply with federal law either by producing the low-sulfur fuel or by buying credits. “They are doing it [producing lower-pollution gas] because they are good corporate citizens.”

So he urged people to patronize the Chevron and Texaco stations that receive fuel from Chevron’s refinery in North Salt Lake.

“It’s not going to cost you any more. But it’s going to make a big difference in the air quality that we have to breathe,” he said.

Herbert stressed that new low-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline can reduce pollution in new Tier 3 cars produced since 2017 by 80%, equivalent to taking three of every four cars off the street.

“We see all these cars going down the street,” he said pointing to busy Redwood Road. “Just picture if four of every five cars was taken off and the pollution that goes with it. That’s a significant reduction.”

Even with older cars, the governor said Tier 3 “reduces up to 20% of the emissions.”

Last month, Herbert also included in his budget what amounted to repeated ads for Chevron and Speedway — urging Utahns to patronize their Tier 3 fuel and help prod other refineries to produce it.

Three of Utah’s five refineries now produce Tier 3 gasoline: Marathon, Chevron and Silver Eagle. It is sold at stations including Speedway, Chevron, Shell, Texaco and Exxon.

Sinclair Oil has said it soon will pipe Tier 3 gasoline to Utah from two Wyoming refineries — but it cannot guarantee for a time that the final retail product will be Tier 3 because of possible mixing in pipelines and terminal tanks.

Also, many independent stations — including such large chains as Maverik, Costco and Smiths — buy from the refineries that produce Tier 3. But they also buy from the two Utah refineries that have yet to offer it: Holly Frontier and Big West.

Of note, officials from Holly Frontier and Big West said earlier this month they are pursuing opportunities to produce Tier 3, and say they are still producing low-sulfur gasoline here — but not yet at the 10 parts per million level of Tier 3.

When Herbert earlier visited a Speedway station, he was even a more direct advertiser for it.

“Look for a Speedway near you,” he said half-jokingly into TV cameras. “You can get a hot dog…. Finish it off with a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a drink — and fill up with Tier 3 fuels. You’ll be happy and your automobile with be happy. And your neighbors will be happy because we know we’re going to have cleaner air.”

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tops off the tank of his state-issued SUV at the opening of a new Speedway convenience store and gas station that will sell lower-sulfur “Tier 3” gasoline, in Salt Lake City on Nov. 25, 2019.