Automakers Push Back on EPA's E-15 Decision
Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a waiver for the use of 15 percent ethanol/gasoline (E-15) blends in 2001 or newer cars and light trucks earlier this year, there has been growing concern among vehicle manufacturers (and most combustion engine manufacturers) about the safety and efficiency of the product.
Twelve automakers sent letters to Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.),
warning that the blend may damage engines and fuel supply systems in
these vehicles. Several of them have stated that the use of E-15 may
void the vehicle warranties.
Sensenbrenner immediately sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa
Jackson, stating that “E-15 is a product that simply does not belong in
the marketplace” and went on to say that “I am writing to urge the EPA
to heed these warnings and reconsider its waiver.” He asked EPA to
respond by July 21.
The push for the higher blend of ethanol is partially due to the Energy
Independence and Security Act that mandated the use of 36 billion
gallons of ethanol or other renewable fuels in the nations fuel supply
by 2022. A Final Rule issued by EPA on June 28 requires retailers to
clearly label pumps dispensing fuel with ethanol content higher than 10
percent to prevent misfueling in older cars and light trucks.
The unknown consequences of using E-15 blends may best be illustrated
by the fact that EPA has also issued a guidance warning gasoline
retailers that higher ethanol blends may degrade tank components, which
could cause leaks and groundwater contamination. The gasoline retailing
industry is on record opposing the E-15 blends and asking for liability
waivers which EPA did not grant.
From AAIA Capital Report