Industry groups appeal high-ethanol fuel case to Supreme Court

The oil and gas industry contends E15 is harmful to cars built to run on standard fuel and has warned that it could damage millions of vehicles. The argument is based on testing commissioned by the oil and auto industries. 

“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," said Bob Greco, API’s director of downstream and industry operations. “Then it would have discovered that E15 is not safe for millions of vehicles now on the road.”

The Renewable Fuels Association, a leading proponent of E15, offered swift rebuttal following Thursday’s filing.

“Good luck with that,” RFA president Bob Dinneen said. “We now know why gas prices keep going up and up – to fund unnecessary Big Oil lawsuits to protect their monopoly on the fuel market.”

Currently, E15 is not widely available. But the biofuels industry is seeking to meet rising blending targets established by the renewable fuel standard (RFS). The blending mandate requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels into traditional transportation fuels by 2022.

Industry groups say the E15 is only one of several underlying problems with the new standards and has called upon Congress to repeal them.

The E15 ruling was also criticized by food industry groups, which charge that it would hit already struggling American families in their wallets.

“The DC Circuit’s decision could not have come at a worse time – in the dead heat of August, as the most devastating drought we’ve experienced in the last 50 years drove corn prices up nearly 40 percent in a matter of weeks,” recalled Louis Finkel, executive vice president for the Grocery of government affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “The decision effectively increased demand for a crop that was already in extremely short supply, thanks to Mother Nature and an unworkable RFS policy.”

Dinneen, of the Renewable Fuels group, challenged that contention, as well.

“I wonder if food prices will spike as well to cover the cost of this Supreme Court challenge?” he questioned.