Detroit News: Automakers ask Supreme Court to take up ethanol challenge

March 27, 2013

David Shepardson, March 26- Major automakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to approve a higher blend of ethanol for vehicles from 2001 and newer.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — which represents Detroit's Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and others, the Association of Global Automakers — the trade association representing many major foreign automakers and the Outdoor Equipment Institute and the National Marine Manufacturers Association filed a petition late Monday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals' August decision that none of the trade associations or parties had the legal standing to challenge approval of E15.

The groups are challenging the EPA's decision in early 2011 to grant partial waivers approving the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol for 2001 model year and newer passenger cars and light trucks.

“Automakers' greatest concern continues to be customers. It is critical that consumers have a positive experience with renewable fuels, which are an important component of our national energy security. It is not in the longer term interest of consumers, the government, and all parties involved to discover, after the fact, that equipment or performance problems are occurring because a new fuel was rushed into the national marketplace,” the alliance said.

  Michael Stanton, president and CEO of Global Automakers, said the EPA's decision was incorrect and the higher ethanol blend will cause “potential harm to vehicles not designed or warranted for such use.” He said the group supports the prospective use of alternative fuels, including ethanol.