MTBE, a controversial gasoline additive intended to reduce smog, has done little to improve air quality, according to a study released yesterday by the National Research Council. MTBE has been blamed for widespread water contamination, and California Gov. Gray Davis (D) in March ordered the additive to be phased out of gas in the state by 2003. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would remove a federal Clean Air Act requirement for high-ozone areas to use gas oxygenated with MTBE or another additive.