MTBE-free gas is best choice for boaters |

MTBE-free gas is best choice for boaters

Hailed as the savior of California’s air quality only a few years ago, the gasoline additive MTBE is now an unwelcome visitor anywhere it is still sold – including Truckee.

Although the verdict is still out on whether MTBE causes cancer, it is a suspected carcinogen, highly soluble in water, and has polluted water supplies at many wells around South Lake Tahoe.

The chemical has also impacted Donner Lake. Tests in 1997 showed that MTBE levels in the lake increased dramatically following heavy summer boat traffic.

While Truckee Town Council is considering regulations that could limit boat traffic on the lake, it would also be a tremendous help if MTBE were no longer sold in Truckee.

Some local gas stations have already followed the lead of those in South Lake Tahoe, and have begun selling MTBE-free gas. Others will have to wait until their suppliers have MTBE-free gas available or have retrofitted refineries to produce it.

All who already sell MTBE-free gas should be commended for their foresight, as well as those who are making the effort to switch over to it.

Boaters should remember that MTBE-free gasoline is a step toward preserving safe drinking water in Donner Lake.

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