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United States Court of Appeals Dismisses Lawsuit Against E15

The US Court of Appeals has sided once again with the corn industry and shoving down our throats E15. Why can’t we have a choice?


I’m going to stray from my world of electric drivetrains where such nonsense as ethanol barely registers the scope of our radars. What I will talk about is what the collector car world and older cars still on the road today. E15 is brutal on older cars, pollutes, raises fuel consumption and degrades the value of our collector cars. Why isn’t this taken into consideration, especially when we see the astronomic prices some collector items fetch today? The answer is clear and as always, mired in a political tango with lobbies.

Collector Car Market In Upheaval. According to the HistoricVehicle website, the collector market isn’t too happy about the United States Court of Appeals turning its back yet again on a push against putting up to 15% ethanol in gasoline pumps. Most older cars, including collector cars cannot use ethanol in their fuel systems since they were never intended for such a fuel. Ethanol actually damages them. What the collector car market is probably even more unified against is the lack of choice we are given at the gasoline pumps. Why can’t we have un-ethanoled gasoline? Certainly Chevron and other petroleum company’s additives have worked well in the past. Just give us a choice.

Court of Appeals Says No. The United States Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit by three separate groups against the implementation of E15 and its approval by the EPA. The reasoning is even more questionable and denotes a concern as to whether it understands, or at the very least acknowledges the broader implications. Yes, most cars on the road today are new but many are not and will see performance degradation, including more used fuel and pollution.

The Reason Behind E15. Although E15 only applies for 2001 and newer model year cars and light trucks, plaintiffs in the case included groups representing strangely enough, the grocery, auto and petroleum industry. Judges David Sentelle and David Tatel found the concerns advanced by petitioners were primarily speculative in nature and not based on any concrete, documented concerns. They ruled the implementation of E15 as simply an option and not a government-mandated requirement being forced into the marketplace.

In 2009, the EPA moved to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline from 10 to 15%. When the EPA approved E15 in October 2010 for use in cars from model years 2007 and later, it then decided models made from 2001 to 2006 should be approved for this fuel later in January 2011.

The Historic Vehicle Association has been very vocal about this and will continue to monitor the development of this saga with the progress of H.R. 3199. It’s not just the collector car world that is in an upheaval, since the addition of E15 also affects also many cars still on the road today.