Ethanol debate heats up

July 8, 2013

July 6— Will drivers nationwide be pulling up to gas station pumps that sell E15 now that the Supreme Court has declined to block sales of the fuel that is a gas blend containing 15 percent ethanol?

In a word: No. The reasons why are a bit more complex but have to do with the potential damage to older cars and motorcycles that E15 can do and the industry's opposition to making the switch nationwide to the cheaper and cleaner fuel.

Refiners, food producers, restaurants and some environmental groups have fought government's efforts to require increasing amounts of ethanol in gasoline blends the next few years.

The industry has argued that the damage to motorcycles and aging cars along with the upward prices it will put on food impose an unnecessary economic burden on consumers.

“The ever-increasing ethanol mandate has become unsustainable, causing a looming crisis for gasoline consumers,” says Bob Greco, a senior official with the American Petroleum Institute who met with the White House about the issue.
“We're at the point where refiners are being pressured to put unsafe levels of ethanol in gasoline, which could damage vehicles, harm consumers and wreak havoc on our economy.”

The Supreme Court recently rejected an effort by the API, the oil industry's chief lobby group, to block sales of E15. The justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that dismissed challenges by the API and trade associations representing food producers, restaurants and others.

The court's decision confirms that the gas blend can be sold at gas stations nationwide, giving individual businesses and consumers the choice of whether to use it.