Industry groups challenge EPA's 15 percent ethanol rule 

Nine energy, food and retail industry groups have filed a federal court challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow refiners to increase ethanol use to 15 percent in vehicles manufactured between 2001 and 2006, claiming the agency lacks statutory authority and the decision puts businesses and consumers at risk.

Friday’s filing at the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit supplements an earlier challenge to the EPA’s ruling, which allows E15 to be used in newer vehicles manufactured after 2007.

“The EPA’s decision improperly authorizes an increase in ethanol content of gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent,” said the American Petroleum Institute’s Director of Downstream Operations Bob Greco. “EPA's second E15 waiver was based on just as shaky – if not shakier – legal and technical grounds than the first waiver decision.” 

Industry testing has uncovered potential safety and performance problems with E15 fuel. Among the possible problems: The ability of engines to handle the higher ethanol mixture over the long run, and the ability of station pumps and underground tanks to handle it. President Obama, long a champion of ethanol subsidies, rushed the new EPA rules into effect after testing only emissions.

Even if the rule is allowed to stand, an oil industry expert tells The Examiner, concerns about liability will likely prevent refiners for now from further dilluting their gasoline with ethanol.

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