Supreme Court Lets E15 Persist, and What’s Coming Next?

E15

The US Supreme Court has decided that it won’t be hearing appeals on a federal appellate court decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s push toward having gasoline go from 10% ethanol blend to 15%. That isn’t going over too well with several automakers, fuel companies, and as few car buffs.  The EPA stands behind E15, insisting its safe for cars model year 2001 and later. Chrysler hasn’t approved E15 on current vehicles, and other automakers are making decisions on whether E15 will void the warranty on the car. What’s coming next for E15?

There are some questions to be answered…

  • Will E15 put a dent in fuel economy? That’s still an unknown, and ethanol is known to have less driving range than gasoline.
  • E15 may cause more corrosion and other damage to engines and fuel systems than E10. That’s brought out the objections expressed by automakers.
  • When did all of this start? As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, it was stipulated that refineries had to add increasingly greater quantities of biofuels like ethanol into the production of gasoline.
  • As for court rulings, in August of last year, a Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that trade groups who’d filed suit lacked standing to sue.
  • As for now, the Supreme Court is allowing this decision to stand. It doesn’t mean the issue is settled completely; sometimes these types of court cases take another form – addressing other legal issues and court rulings – and make their way successfully to the Supreme Court. That would take several years, though.
  • It is going to take a long time for E15 to make its way to gas stations across the country. The numbers are small now and automakers will play a role in how widespread it becomes.
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