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API appeals E15 gasoline rule to US Supreme Court

02.21.2013  | 

The group alleges that had EPA stayed within its statutory authority and followed proper procedures, it would have waited until ongoing E15 testing on engines and fuel systems was completed before allowing the use of E15. Then it would have found that E15 is not safe for numerous vehicles.


The American Petroleum Institute (API) and other groups have appealed to the US Supreme Court a lower-court decision rejecting a challenge to a grant of partial waivers for use of the E15 ethanol-gasoline blend, the trade group said on Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waivers had been approved by a D.C. Circuit Court, said Bob Greco, API’s group director for downstream and industry operations.

“We’ve filed this petition because the D.C. Circuit incorrectly concluded that none of the 17 petitioners had standing to challenge the E15 partial waivers – not the engine manufacturers whose products will run on this new fuel blend, not the petroleum industry who must undertake massive infrastructure changes to accommodate the blend and meet the renewable fuel mandate, and not the food producers who now face significantly greater competition in the commodities market for corn, the conventional feedstock for ethanol."

The API says that had EPA stayed within its statutory authority and followed proper procedures, it would have waited until ongoing E15 testing on engines and fuel systems was completed before allowing its use.

"Then it would have discovered that E15 is not safe for millions of vehicles now on the road," said Greco.

“Although we hope the court will resolve the E15 problem, we also believe our experience here represents only one of many underlying problems with the Renewable Fuel Standard, so we are calling on Congress to repeal the program."

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Cal Hodge

Centrally planned economies fail because no one is smart enough to plan for all contingencies. If we want to dabble in central planning (like the RFS) we need to be prepared to make course corrections when technical isues arise.

Now that gasoline demand is expected to decline due to another government program the ethanol mandate should be changed from a voulmetric mandate to a marketshare mandate. Now that science tells us E15 harms millions of cars, the only time we should use more than 10% ethanol in gasoline should be in flexfuel vehicles designed to run E85. Because American consumers are too smart to buy E85 at the current price differentials a compromise would be to eliminate the Federal gasoline tax on each gallon of ethanol used in E85.

Cellulosic ethanol technology simply has not developed as quickly as planned. I suggest we set its mandate at the prior year's production volume and let other ethanol technologies compete for the remaining E10 and E85 ethanol market.

Renewable diesel technology that was just starting up when EISA 2007 became law has proven to work. World capacity is nearing 1 billion gallons per year. Unfortunately the renewable fuel labeling laws that fit ethanol and biodiesel are hampering this renewable hydrocarbon's entry into the market and need to be changed to accomodate a fungible, stable, NOx and GHG reducing fuel.


Questionable is not just the food/feed source of the alcohol. At 15 percent, the alcohol is hygroscopic enough to draw water in pipelines, storage tanks, fuel delivery systems, and corrode everything metal. It shouldn't take upper courts of law to recognize this hazard.

V.S. Clift

Use of alcohol derived from potential food stuff should not be allowed! It's use in engines is also counter productive and does not lower CO2 discharge in most cases.

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