Law:Title 2. Department Of Agriculture from Chapter 17. Sale And Regulation Of Certain Fuel Mixtures (Texas)

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Contents

Chapter 17. Sale And Regulation Of Certain Fuel Mixtures

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section 17.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Automotive fuel rating" has the meaning assigned by 15 U.S.C. Section 2821.

(2)  "Dealer" means a person who:

(A)  is the operator of a service station or other retail outlet; and

(B)  delivers motor fuel into the fuel tanks of motor vehicles or motor boats.

(3)  "Distributor" has the meaning assigned by Section 162.001, Tax Code.

(4)  "Jobber" means a person who purchases tax-paid gasoline for resale or distribution at wholesale.

(5)  "Motor fuel" has the meaning assigned by Section 162.001, Tax Code.

(6)  "Supplier" has the meaning assigned by Section 162.001, Tax Code.

(7)  "Wholesaler" means a person who purchases tax-paid gasoline for resale or distribution at wholesale.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Subchapter B. Sale Or Delivery Of Motor Fuel

Section 17.051.  Notice Of Sale Of Alcohol And Fuel Mixture.

(a) A dealer may not sell or offer for sale motor fuel from a motor fuel pump supplied by a storage tank into which motor fuel, in a mixture in which at least one percent of the mixture measured by volume is ethanol or methanol, has been delivered within the 60-day period preceding the date of sale or offer of sale unless the dealer prominently displays on the pump from which the mixture is sold a sign that complies with Subsection (b).

(b)  A sign required by Subsection (a) must:

(1)  be displayed on each face of the motor fuel pump on which the price of the motor fuel mixture sold from the pump is displayed;

(2)  state "Contains Ethanol" or "Contains Methanol," as applicable;

(3)  appear in contrasting colors with block letters at least one-half inch high and one-fourth inch wide; and

(4)  be displayed in a clear, conspicuous, and prominent manner, visible to customers using either side of the pump.

(c)  If a motor fuel pump is supplied by a storage tank into which motor fuel containing at least 10 percent ethanol by volume or at least five percent methanol by volume is delivered in the 60-day period preceding the date of the sale or offer of sale, the sign required by Subsection (a) must also state the percentage of ethanol or methanol by volume, to the nearest whole percent, of the motor fuel having the highest percentage of ethanol or methanol delivered into that storage tank during that period.

(d)  On request by a motor fuel user, a dealer shall reveal:

(1)  the percentage of ethanol contained in motor fuel being sold;

(2)  the percentage of methanol contained in motor fuel being sold; and

(3)  if the motor fuel contains methanol, the types and percentages of associated cosolvents contained in the motor fuel being sold.

(e)  This section does not prohibit the posting of any other alcohol or additive information.  Other alcohol or additive information and any relevant posting are subject to regulation by the commissioner.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.052.  Documentation Of Motor Fuel Mixture Sales.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a distributor, supplier, wholesaler, or jobber of motor fuel may not deliver to an outlet in this state a motor fuel mixture that contains ethanol or methanol exceeding one percent by volume of the mixture unless, at the time of the delivery of the mixture, the person also delivers to the outlet receiving the delivery:

(1)  signs required by Section 17.051 in a number sufficient for the dealer receiving the mixture to comply with that section; and

(2)  a manifest, bill of sale, bill of lading, or other document evidencing delivery of the mixture, that:

(A)  includes a statement containing:

(i)  the percentage of ethanol or methanol contained in the mixture; and

(ii)  the types and percentages of any associated cosolvents contained in the mixture; and

(B)  evidences delivery of the signs required under Subdivision (1).

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to a delivery made into the fuel supply tanks of a motor vehicle.

(c)  The commissioner by rule may prescribe the form of the statement required by Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.053.  Record Of Delivery Documents; Inspection Authorized.

(a) Each dealer shall keep a copy of each document required to be delivered to the dealer by Section 17.052 until the first anniversary of the delivery date.  During the first 60 days following delivery of a fuel mixture subject to this chapter, the dealer shall keep a copy at the station or retail outlet where the motor fuel was delivered.

(b)  Each distributor, supplier, wholesaler, and jobber of motor fuel shall keep at the person's principal place of business a copy of each document required to be delivered to the dealer by Section 17.052 until the first anniversary of the delivery date.

(c)  The commissioner or an authorized representative of the commissioner may inspect documents described by this section.

(d)  The commissioner by rule may prescribe:

(1)  the manner of filing documents required to be kept under this section; and

(2)  the time, place, and manner of inspection of the documents.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.054.  Documents Relating To Posting Or Certification Of Automotive Fuel Ratings.

(a) Each dealer shall keep for at least one year a copy of:

(1)  each delivery ticket or letter of certification on which the dealer based a posting of the automotive fuel rating of motor fuel contained in a motor fuel pump;

(2)  each delivery ticket or letter of certification that is required to be delivered to the dealer under 16 C.F.R. Part 306; and

(3)  records of any automotive fuel rating determination made by the dealer under 16 C.F.R. Part 306.

(b)  Each distributor or supplier shall keep for at least one year at the distributor's or supplier's principal place of business a copy of each delivery ticket or letter of certification required to be delivered by the distributor or supplier to a dealer in this state under 16 C.F.R. Part 306.

(c)  The commissioner or an authorized representative of the commissioner may inspect a document required to be kept under this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.055.  Sale Of Motor Fuel With Inaccurate Automotive Fuel Rating.

(a) A dealer may not sell or offer for sale from a motor fuel pump motor fuel that has an automotive fuel rating lower than the rating for that motor fuel posted on the pump.

(b)  A distributor or supplier of motor fuel may not deliver or transfer to a dealer in this state motor fuel that has an automotive fuel rating lower than the certification of the rating the distributor or supplier is required to make to the dealer under federal law.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Subchapter B-1. Motor Fuel Quality And Testing

Section 17.071.  Minimum Motor Fuel Quality And Testing Standards.

The department by rule shall adopt minimum motor fuel quality and testing standards for motor fuel that is sold or offered for sale in this state.  The standards must comply with the nationally recognized minimum standards established by:

(1)  the American Society for Testing and Materials, as those standards existed on September 1, 2009, for motor fuels other than motor fuels blended with ethanol; and

(2)  the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as those standards existed on September 1, 2009, other than the standard vapor to liquid ratio specification for motor fuels blended with ethanol.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 24, eff. January 1, 2010.



Section 17.072.  Testing Of Motor Fuel Quality. (a)

The department may collect samples and conduct testing at any location where motor fuel is kept, transferred, sold, or offered for sale, to verify that the motor fuel complies with the minimum standards required by Section 17.071.

(b)  On arriving at a facility to conduct testing under Subsection (a), a representative of the department shall notify the owner or manager of the facility of the representative's presence and purpose.

(c)  A person commits an offense if the person refuses to allow a department representative to collect samples or conduct motor fuel testing under Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 24, eff. January 1, 2010.



Section 17.073.  Stop-sale Order.

If the department has reason to believe that motor fuel is in violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter, the department may issue and enforce a written order to stop the sale of the motor fuel.  The department shall present the order to the dealer, distributor, jobber, supplier, or wholesaler who is in control of the motor fuel at the time the motor fuel is tested.  The person who receives the order may not sell the motor fuel until the department determines that the motor fuel is in compliance with this chapter and department rules.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 24, eff. January 1, 2010.



Subchapter C. Administrative Provisions

Section 17.101.  Copies Of Documents; Delivery To Federal Government.

(a) The commissioner, an authorized representative of the commissioner, or the attorney general may copy any manifest, bill of sale, bill of lading, delivery ticket, letter of certification, or other document that the commissioner or attorney general is entitled to inspect under this chapter.

(b)  The commissioner, an authorized representative of the commissioner, or the attorney general may deliver a copy of a document described by Subsection (a) to the federal government for the purpose of prosecuting a person for a violation of federal law relating to the sale or transfer of motor fuel.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.102.  Testing; Rules Relating To Testing Frequency. To Determine Complianc

e with the standards and enforce rules adopted under Sections 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.055, and 17.103, the commissioner or an authorized representative of the commissioner may test any motor fuel sold in this state, regardless of the existence of a complaint about the fuel.  This section does not prohibit the commissioner from adopting rules relating to the frequency of testing motor fuels.  In adopting the rules, the commissioner shall consider:

(1)  the nature of the violation;

(2)  the history of past violations; and

(3)  available funds under Section 17.104(d).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.103.  Authority Of Commissioner To Limit Applicability Of Law.

If the commissioner determines that certain types of motor fuel, such as diesel or liquefied petroleum gas, are not sold in this state as mixtures with alcohol in sufficient quantities to warrant regulation of deliveries of those types of motor fuel under this chapter, the commissioner may limit the application of Sections 17.051 and 17.052 to motor fuels sold in sufficient quantity to warrant regulation.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.104.  Rules; Fees.

(a) The commissioner may adopt rules consistent with this chapter for the regulation of the sale of motor fuels, including motor fuels that contain ethanol and methanol.

(b)  The commissioner by rule may impose a fee for testing, inspection, or the performance of other services provided as determined necessary by the commissioner in the administration of this chapter.  A fee imposed under this subsection shall be collected from each dealer, distributor, jobber, supplier, and wholesaler on a periodic basis determined by the commissioner without regard to whether the motor fuel is subject to regulation under this chapter.

(c)  The commissioner by rule shall prescribe the form for reporting and remitting the fees imposed under this section.

(d)  Fees collected under this section may be used only to administer and enforce this chapter.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 25, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter D. Enforcement

Section 17.151.  Contract For Enforcement.

The commissioner may contract for the enforcement of this chapter after due notice.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.152.  Civil Action. (a) If A Dealer Or A D

istributor, supplier, wholesaler, or jobber of motor fuel violates Section 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.054, or 17.055, a motor fuel user who purchased the motor fuel and sustained damages or who has a complaint about the product may bring an action against the dealer, distributor, supplier, wholesaler, or jobber.

(b)  The action may be brought, without regard to the specific amount of damages, in the district court in any county in which:

(1)  the dealer, distributor, supplier, wholesaler, or jobber transacts business; or

(2)  the dealer resides.

(c)  The court shall award to a motor fuel user who prevails in an action under this section:

(1)  the amount of actual damages;

(2)  equitable relief as determined by the court to be necessary to remedy the effects of the violation, including a declaratory judgment, permanent injunctive relief, and temporary injunctive relief; and

(3)  court costs and attorney's fees that are reasonable in relation to the amount of work expended.

(d)  In addition to the remedies provided under Subsection (c), on finding that the defendant wilfully or knowingly violated Section 17.051, 17.052, or 17.053, the trier of fact shall award not more than three times the amount of actual damages.

(e)  A violation of Section 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.054, or 17.055 also constitutes a deceptive trade practice under Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code.

(f)  An action alleging a violation of Section 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.054, or 17.055 must be commenced and prosecuted not later than the second anniversary of the date on which the cause of action accrues.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.153.  Civil Penalty. A Dealer, Distributor,

supplier, wholesaler, or jobber who violates Section 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.054, or 17.055 is liable to this state for a civil penalty of not less than $200 and not more than $10,000.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.154.  Criminal Offenses. (a) A Person Commits A

n offense if the person knowingly violates Section 17.051, 17.052, 17.053, 17.054, or 17.055 or a rule adopted by the commissioner to enforce or implement those sections.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1)  refuses to permit a person authorized by Section 17.102 to test any motor fuel sold or held for sale in this state;

(2)  refuses to permit inspection of any document required to be kept or delivered by this chapter on request of a person authorized to inspect the documents under Section 17.053 or 17.054; or

(3)  mutilates, destroys, secretes, forges, or falsifies any document, record, report, or sign required to be delivered, kept, filed, or posted by this chapter or any rule adopted by the commissioner to enforce this chapter.

(c)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d)  An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(e)  The commissioner or the authorized representative of the commissioner may request the appropriate prosecuting attorney to prosecute a violation of this chapter.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.



Section 17.155.  Administrative Penalty. (a)

The department may impose an administrative penalty against a person regulated under this chapter who violates this chapter or a rule or order adopted under this chapter.  Except as otherwise provided by this section, an administrative penalty is imposed and collected in the manner provided by Section 12.020.

(b)  The penalty for a violation of this chapter or a rule or order adopted under this chapter may not exceed $5,000 a day for each violation.  Each day a violation continues or occurs may be considered a separate violation for purposes of imposing a penalty.

(c)  The amount of the penalty shall be based on:

(1)  the seriousness of the violation, including the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of any prohibited acts, and the hazard or potential hazard created to the health, safety, or economic welfare of the public;

(2)  the economic harm to property or the environment caused by the violation;

(3)  the history of previous violations;

(4)  the amount necessary to deter future violations;

(5)  efforts to correct the violation;  and

(6)  any other matter that justice may require.

(d)  An employee of the department designated by the commissioner to act under this section who determines that a violation has occurred may issue to the commissioner a report  stating the facts on which the determination is based and the designated employee's recommendation on the imposition of a penalty, including a recommendation on the amount of the penalty.

(e)  Not later than the 14th day after the date the report is issued, the designated employee shall give written notice of the report to the person charged with the violation.  The notice may be given by certified mail.  The notice must:

(1)  include a brief summary of the alleged violation;

(2)  include a statement of the amount of the recommended penalty;  and

(3)  inform the person charged that the person has a right to a hearing on the occurrence of the violation, the amount of the penalty, or both the occurrence of the violation and the amount of the penalty.

(f)  Not later than the 20th day after the date the person charged receives the notice, the person:

(1)  in writing may accept the determination and recommended penalty of the designated employee; or

(2)  may make a written request for a hearing on the occurrence of the violation, the amount of the penalty, or both the occurrence of the violation and the amount of the penalty.

(g)  If the person charged with the violation accepts the determination and recommended penalty of the designated employee, the commissioner by order shall approve the determination and impose the recommended penalty.

(h)  If the person charged requests a hearing or fails to respond timely to the notice, the designated employee shall set a hearing and give notice of the hearing to the person.  The hearing shall be held by an administrative law judge of the State Office of Administrative Hearings.  The administrative law judge shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law and promptly issue to the commissioner a proposal for a decision as to the occurrence of the violation and the amount of a proposed penalty.  Based on the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and proposal for a decision, the commissioner by order may find a violation has occurred and impose a penalty or may find that no violation has occurred.

(i)  The notice of the commissioner's order under Chapter 2001, Government Code, given to the person charged with the violation must include a statement of the right of the person to judicial review of the order.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.06, eff. April 1, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 26, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 17.156.  Toll-free Number.

The department shall provide a toll-free telephone number for use by the public in reporting violations of this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 913, Sec. 27, eff. September 1, 2009.


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