§ Mr. Hill
We understand that the US Federal Government's proposal to significantly reduce or eliminate MTBE in petrol—which had been actively encouraged in a number of US States for air quality reasons—has been made because of concerns about MTBE in groundwater. At the same time, the Federal Government have proposed that air quality benefits gained through use of MTBE—primarily reductions in carbon monoxide emissions—be preserved through the use of alternative, renewable fuel additives such as ethanol. This proposal has been made in the light of circumstances pertaining in parts of the United States and which may differ from those in many parts of Europe, including the UK.
For example, MTBE has not been actively encouraged in the United Kingdom, carbon monoxide emissions being controlled by other means. MTBE is used in significantly less quantities than in the United States and there is no evidence to indicate groundwater contamination. We are nevertheless keeping the matter under review and the Environment Agency is currently undertaking a study into oxygenates in groundwater.