Although, from a practical standpoint in the marketplace, there are "suppliers" in the sense it is used in the question, enforcement of average standards are refiner, blender, and importer-based. Therefore, as is mentioned in Survey Question 2 (above), if a refiner sells RFG to another refiner for downstream retail or wholesale sales, the original refiner must account for the standards in place at the ultimate destination of the gasoline. (As is discussed in Survey Question 3, if the refiner does not know where the product will finally be used, the refiner must assume it has gone to any covered area supplied by any fungible system into which the refinery is distributing gasoline.) Thus, if RFG is brought into a covered area through purchase or exchange by a "supplier" who is other than the producer of the gasoline, this RFG should meet the ratcheted standards. This includes the ratcheted average standard (applicable to the refiner, importer or blender), and the ratcheted maximum/minimum standard (applicable to all parties including those downstream). If RFG brought into an area which has a ratcheted standard by a "supplier" does not, in fact, meet the ratcheted standards for that area, then each regulated party handling this out-of-compliance gasoline would be liable for a violation of the standard in question. Thus, the "supplier" which did not produce the gasoline but which brings the gasoline into the ratcheted covered area is responsible for meeting the ratcheted minimum and maximum standards. Furthermore, the "supplier" is responsible for conducting a quality control program which, as a defense against an enforcement action, must demonstrate that the gasoline meets the maximums or minimums applicable to the area, including ratcheted maximums and minimums in the case of a failed survey area.
Thus, in regards to the last part of this question, average standards are applicable to refiners, importers and blenders and, if ratchets occur, these parties must meet the ratcheted standards on average. These same parties as well as the "suppliers" mentioned above are all responsible for compliance with maximums and minimums. Compliance with "average standards" on an area-byarea basis is effectively brought about by the survey in that, if the survey in a given area is failed, averaged standards for all refiners, importers, and blenders producing gasoline for that area are ratcheted.(7/1/94)
This question and answer was posted at Consolidated List of Reformulated Gasoline and Anti-Dumping Questions and Answers: July 1, 1994 through November 10, 1997 (PDF)(333 pp, 18.17 MB, EPA420-R-03-009, July 2003, About PDF)