FTC Issues Final Amendments to Its Fuel Rating Rule, Including New Octane Rating Method

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The Federal Trade Commission has announced amendments to the agency rule that determines the fuel rating that appears on fuel pump labels, how octane levels are calculated, and helps drivers make informed decisions about what fuel to use when they fill up their vehicles.

In 2009, the FTC initiated a review of the Fuel Rating Rule – formally called the Rule for Automobile Fuel Ratings, Certification, and Posting – as part of the agency’s ongoing, systematic review of all FTC rules and guides. During this process, the Commission sought input on the economic impact and continuing need for the rule, possible conflict between the rule and state, local or other federal laws or regulations, and the effect of any technological, economic, or other industry changes on the rule.

This regulatory review of the Fuel Rating Rule focused primarily on how the rule should apply to ethanol-gasoline blends, and on alternative ways producers could use to determine octane ratings. After considering input from the public, the FTC is now issuing a Federal Register notice detailing the final amendments. The revised Rule gives producers an alternative way to determine a fuel’s octane level and makes minor revisions that will make the Rule more user-friendly.

Although the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposed new rating and certification requirements for certain ethanol-gasoline blends and new labels for all ethanol fuels, the FTC has determined that more time is needed to address ethanol labeling.

The Commission vote approving the Federal Register notice announcing the final amendments was 5-0. The notice can be found here and on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. The final Rule will become effective May 31, 2011. (FTC File Number R811005; the staff contact is Matthew Wilshire, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2976)

Copies of the document mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 11.2011.wpd)

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