U.S. Engine Makers Sue Over Ethanol Blends

U.S. automakers and engine makers sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 20 over its decision to allow higher blends of ethanol for newer cars, saying it could cause confusion at the pumps and damage engines in older vehicles.

The EPA decided in October to allow cars built in 2007 or later to burn gasoline containing 15 per cent ethanol, or E15. Current legal levels are 10 per cent.

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry group, had asked the EPA for a waiver for the sale of the fuel because the business faces a glut of the alternative motor fuel.

But a new coalition that filed the suit, called the Engine Products Group, said the EPA’s decision to allow higher blends for some cars could confuse consumers. Engines in some vehicles, boats, lawn-mowers and chain saws could be damaged if they get the wrong fuel, they said.

They say higher ethanol blends can corrode fuel lines and other parts in engines that have not been adjusted.

Last month, food groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Meat Association, filed a suit seeking to overturn EPA’s October decision. They said allowing E15 could push up food prices, because ethanol in this country is mostly made from corn, also a feed for livestock. Already more than 30 per cent of the U.S. corn crop goes to making ethanol.

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