Despite predictions of economic doom and gloom in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election win, things are actually looking quite sunny. A revised estimate showed gross domestic product had climbed at an annualized rate of 3 per cent, showing more growth than the professionals projected.

Part of the reason for this new trajectory is President Trump’s war on excessive regulation. For instance, in response to the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the region’s fuel industry, Environmental Protection Agency is temporarily suspending some rules about gasoline production in an effort to minimize shortages around the southeast.

States from Maryland to Texas can sell winter-grade gasoline held in storage now, even though normally that type of fuel wouldn’t become available until fall, according to a federal waiver issued Wednesday. Refineries that continue to operate can also start churning out winter-grade gasoline, which emits more pollution than summer-grade gasoline when combusted in engines.

The waiver, which covers 12 states and Washington, D.C., allows refiners, fuel wholesalers and gas stations in those areas to manufacture and sell high-volatility fuel normally kept off the market during summer months to limit ozone pollution.

Harvey has hobbled the Gulf Coast refining complex, knocking out nearly 4 million barrels a day of fuel-making capacity, or more than 22% of U.S. refining capacity.

The states included in the waiver are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, and D.C.

Pruitt said in a letter to governors and District Mayor Muriel E. Bowser that companies can now use any blend stock or oxygenate in an effort to speed up gasoline and diesel deliveries to customers in Texas and beyond. Pruitt noted disruptions from refinery closures, pipeline limitations and problems with barge delivery of oil products.

“These supply shortages can be reduced by waiving the requirements to sell low volatility summer” gasoline, his letter said.

The EPA waiver lasts until September 15. That is, unless another hurricane rolls in.

However, given the new-found flexibility of one the nation’s most draconian regulating agencies, the economic forecast should remain sunny.


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