US trade groups slam EPA for E15 ethanol blend, citing risk to consumers

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) trade groups are critical of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to approve higher levels of ethanol in gasoline (E15) before testing is complete, alleging that it could put consumers at risk.

“EPA is choosing to ignore the red flags in its headlong rush to allow more ethanol in gasoline, putting consumers and their vehicles at risk,” said API director of downstream operations Bob Greco.

“Testing needs to be completed before this new fuel mixture is introduced into Americans’ gas tanks.”

Greco said the EPA decision comes before the completion of thorough testing by the automobile and oil industries to ensure the safety and performance of the new fuel for vehicles.

He said that testing results so far have revealed problems with E15 and that engine damage from its use may not be covered under vehicle manufacturer warranties.

“API supports a realistic and workable Renewable Fuel Standard and the responsible introduction of increased biofuels in a manner that protects consumers and the investments they’ve made in their vehicles,” Greco said.

“However, we cannot rush to allow more ethanol before we know the consequences."

Greco said that the US oil and natural gas industry is the largest consumer of ethanol and other biofuels and remains committed to the use of renewable fuels in the US energy mix.

Earlier this week, the EPA approved the first applications to make E15, a 50% increase from the E10 blend allowed at present.

AFPM president Charles T. Drevna issued a similarly scathing statement.

"Unfortunately, the EPA announcement represents yet another in the agency's unwise, premature and irresponsible series of actions in its rush to force E15 to the marketplace," Drevna said. 

"EPA's hasty attempts to speed introduction of E15 before necessary testing is complete could endanger the safety of American consumers, threatening their vehicles and gasoline-powered equipment with possibly severe damage,” he continued.

“This action is more about political science than real science because it is designed to protect the ethanol industry rather than the American people. This decision is particularly troubling, since recent information released by the Coordinating Research Council shows failures when using E15 in vehicles approved by EPA.

“With a lawsuit by AFPM and other organizations on this critical issue about to be heard, there is no reason for EPA to have rushed to judgment and acted so recklessly.”

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