Bonds Needed to Sell Oil & Gas
Original post by Eric Feigenbaum of Demand Media
Operating a gasoline or service station comes with many risks - from potential leaks in underground tanks to fires and explosions that can result from spillovers at the pump. That's why state regulators require gas stations to carry liability protection. Although many states require liability coverage in the form of insurance, some allow surety or financial responsibility bonds.
Storing gasoline and petroleum can create an environmental hazard. Earthquakes, shifts in soil and corrosion of underground tanks can lead petroleum products to seep into soil and waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency and state environmental protection and insurance departments have regulations on the specifications and maintenance of gas station properties and equipment. When measures fail, or owners are negligent, clean up and repair costs are costly. That's why government agencies require financial responsibility.
States like Ohio and Florida allow surety bonds as a guarantee of financial responsibility for gas stations. Station owners must purchase bonds in legally prescribed amounts from state authorized surety bond issuers. They must then place the bonds on file with state environmental protection agencies or departments of insurance. Although bonds can satisfy state requirements for the operation of gas stations, they do not meet federal EPA requirements for financial responsibility during construction of new underground tanks and stations.
Not every state allows oil and gasoline sellers to use surety bonds for financial guarantees. Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, among others, require sellers to carry insurance policies from state licensed and recognized companies. Station owners must regularly show proof of liability insurance meeting minimum requirements during periodic state and county inspections.
Surety Bond Advantages
Sellers who choose surety bonds usually prefer them because, unlike insurance policies, they do not require regular premiums or payments. A one-time deposit of money -- albeit larger than a typical insurance premium -- continues to provide financial responsibility so long as the bond is not cashed in or used. In the long run, a surety bond can save a cautious station operator significantly compared to insurance premiums.
- Outagamie County: Gas Station, Car Wash, Convenience Store Insurance Requirements for Independent Contractors and Workers
- Missouri Attorney General: Attorney General Koster Sues Five Gas Stations for Underground Storage Tank Insurance Violations
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Petroleum Inspection
- Environmental Protection Agency: Financial Responsibility for Owners and Operators
- Michigan Department for Environmental Quality: Financial Responsibility for Underground Storage Tanks
- Ohio State Legislature: Financial Responsibility Mechanism
About the Author
Eric Feigenbaum started his career in print journalism, becoming editor-in-chief of "The Daily" of the University of Washington during college and afterward working at two major newspapers. He later did many print and Web projects including re-brandings for major companies and catalog production.
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