U.S. oil industry challenges E15 ruling

Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The oil industry said it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower-court decision opening the door to gasoline containing a higher amount of ethanol.

The American Petroleum Institute said the federal appeals court in Washington was wrong when it blocked an earlier challenge on the grounds the challengers, including the API, engine manufacturers and food producers, did not have legal standing in the matter.

The challenge was aimed at blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from authorizing the sale of so-called E15 gasoline, which is 15 percent ethanol, as part of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard. The current legal maximum for ethanol content is 10 percent.

The API said in a written statement the EPA made its ruling too soon and. "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." Bob Greco, API Group Director for Downstream and Industry Operations, said. "Then it would have discovered that E15 is not safe for millions of vehicles now on the road."

Greco added the API was certain complete testing would show ethanol was harmful to cars not built specifically for E15 and said that fact alone justified junking the entire federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

The ethanol industry fired back with a written statement claiming the E15 challenge was aimed more at preserving market share for the oil industry by pushing ethanol out of the gasoline supply.

"It is time to put fuel choice in the hands of consumers," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Alternative Fuels Association. "As gas prices continue to rise day after day, it is clear that Americans deserve the choice of lower-cost, cleaner-burning, high-performing E15."

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